Friday, October 19, 2007

Participation vs. Membership

Continuing on the Willow Creek trend this morning, let's consider a little story. When I was in college, many of my friends were members of a certain fraternity. All in all I had five different roommates who were members of this one frat. Although I was never a member of the fraternity, they extended the opportunity to me to become a "social affiliate." Basically, that meant I would have been able to attend all fraternity parties, social events, etc... I would not, however, be able to participate in the most important aspect of a fraternity and that is the community and relationship building that comes through their personal meetings. I would have no responsibility to the fraternity and they would have no responsibility to me. I could go hang out all day long, but there was zero commitment level expected or required.

Now, applying the same principal to the local church. If we focus all of our attention on participation and not on covenant membership, what have we really accomplished? Essentially we will have created social affiliates within the church. "We'd love for you to come hang out, but we do not need your commitment and we are not committed to you." This is absolutely not the biblical model 0f the church. According to the Bible, we have responsibilities to one-another as brothers and sisters in Christ. I am responsible to help you to become more mature in your faith, and you are responsible for the same things with me.

Church involvement does not equal mature Christians, but you can bet that Christians mature in their faith will be totally comitted to the church.

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