Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Weekender, Day 2

As I have stated the past couple of days, I am at a conference called The Weekender which is put on by 9Marks Ministries & Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Yesterday was probably the longest of the days for the conference. We started at 9:30 am and ended about 10:00 pm. And there were not many breaks during the day. It was very long, but it was also very profitable.

If I were to summarize the day, I think I would have to use the word "Church Membership." I know they are baptists and I should not be surprised, but they really talk about and encourage church membership. And there were a few things that did catch me off guard in regards to their concept of membership. I need to process these things, so let me just explain what they said without stating what I think about it at this time.

The day started with a Q & A with a few of the elders concerning the meeting from the night before. There were many good questions asked, but the main question I was hoping to get answered was this: How do they care for the regular attendees? I made the observation that at the elders meeting, they prayed through the membership role of those whose last name ended with J or K. But, I thought, how do they care for the regular attendees? Do they pray for them?

I was somewhat shocked by their answer. NO. They don't. They care for them like they would care for us this weekend. They love us, they help us in any way that they can. If we ask questions, they will answer them. In the same way, if a regular attendee at their church is not a member, they will be glad to answer questions and love them, but they do not pursue them or pray for them. Mark Dever even said in the evening membership class meeting that "he does not pray for those who are not members." I assume by that he means that he does not regularly pray for those who are not members.

I have always taken a stance on church membership that it was important, but it wasn't going to keep me from treating someone differently simply because they were not members. If they came to my church, I would seek to get to know them and shepherd them. Maybe this is something that I need to rethink.

The rest of the morning had to do with Mark Dever explaining the history of the church. Which might sound boring, but it was really interesting. He is a very engaging person. He emphasized not changing things too quickly, but that when you do, you had better be willing to die with your decision. But he seemed to be emphasizing grace and patience. I appreciated that.

After lunch, we sat through a few hours in discussion about Church Discipline. One again, you cannot talk about discipline if you do not talk about membership. They are intrinsically linked. They do NOT discipline anyone who is not a member of their church. Probably because they do not know them personally.

The evening finished with three hours of their membership course they call "Membership Matters." They walked through their doctrinal statement in the first hour. I found it interesting that they ask every member to sign their doctrinal statement saying they believe it. If you do not believe it, you cannot be a member. Period. In the second hour of class, they walked through their church covenant. In the last hour, Dever talked about why someone should join a church.

In the end, what I appreciate most is that everything they do has been well thought through. It is giving me many things to really contemplate. I might end up not totally agreeing with everything they do, but I am forced to think things through and for that, I am very thankful.

Question: Are There Any Good Reasons You Can Think Of To NOT Be A Member Of The Church You Attend?


  1. Hi Thad. I followed your Tweets on Mark's talk on why a person should join a church. Do you know if there is anywhere I can download the audio of that message? I'd love to get my hands on that material.

    Jeff Romans

  2. send me an email and I will forward you a document they gave us (thad at cornerstoneneo dot come)


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