What is the purpose of church membership? Our unity and our covenant together before God to live distinct in the world should serve as a witness to the world. If the church membership lives no differently and the church program is all about worldly relevance then why would anyone desire to unite with the family of God except to be comfortable in their sin? How would this confusion exalt the person of Christ and His gospel? The answer is that it would not. You might build a following but they wouldn’t be following Christ. With that in mind our church has examined our membership and taken some initial action. By congregational vote we removed from membership those who we discovered to be deceased and those who we absolutely could not find. That’s step one.
We need to continue to work on ensuring integrity in membership through the following ways: 1) Being clear about what it means to be a member of this local church (the Church Covenant is a good tool for this); 2) Contacting individually every inactive member about affirming the Church Covenant; and finally 3) Releasing from membership those who do not wish to walk with us in covenant. Ideally number three would read- “Rejoicing with those who renew their covenant of membership and commit to faithfully walk with the Lord.” Let’s pray.
Here are two helpful articles from Matt Schmucker of Nine Marks Ministries and Capitol Hill Baptist Church in D.C. Check them out for added insight.