Last night, I met with the elders of our church from 6 pm until 11 pm as we discussed, prayed, and planned many items for the future of Cornerstone Bible Church. One of the items that took much of our time last night was on the issue of church membership and how to get people who are faithful attendees to join the church. Our conversation made me think about an article that I read from Brian Croft on his blog the other day that was entitled, How Long Should You Attend Church Before Pursuing Membership. He asks several questions for you to think about as you think about joining a church. I have quoted most of the article below, but you may want to visit his blog to gain the entire article.
Is this a church where my family will be regularly fed by God’s Word? This is the first question that needs to be asked. Not just are they faithful to the Word of God, but is this a church where the preaching and teaching is such that my soul and the souls of my family will be nourished because of the way the Word of God is taught and preached? In other words, are they preaching expositionally through books of the Bible as the regular, steady diet of the congregation.
Is this a church where I am convinced the care of my soul will be a priority? Does this church have real pastors/elders who see their primary task to be the spiritual care and oversight of the souls of the members? In other words, just because they have powerful, biblical preaching, does not mean your individual soul will be tended to on a regular basis.
Is this a church where my family will experience meaningful Christian fellowship and accountability? To know this, it will require a bit of a commitment to one church for a time to build relationships, attend some church fellowship events, and get to know some of the pastors and leadership.
Is this a church where I can serve God’s people and use my gifts for its benefit? It will help to know where you are gifted and what some of the needs of the church are, but often times there are many needs that you can fill by simply your presence and commitment. Also, do not assume you know what those areas of need are by your limited observations. Look to see what ministries exist and where you see yourself and your family fitting.
If you can answer in the affirmative to all 4 of these questions, it is a good possibility you have found your next church. If you find yourself in that place I would encourage you not to delay, but to pursue membership.
Those are some good thoughts and help me think through the issue of church membership. If you think about it today, would you pray for our elders as we meet together most of today as well.