Last year and early on into this year our church spent a good deal of time in our monthly (now bi-monthly) Church Conference to discuss the issue of church membership. I preached on this subject from the numerous Biblical texts that address it. I've now preached at least a dozen messages specifically on church membership and discipline-- not to mention how we've seen the issue addressed from the very books I've gone through either on Sunday morning, evening, or Wednesday evenings (like Matthew 18 for instance). So this is an issue heavy on my heart.
Earlier in the year we determined to table the issue as a matter of church action until January 2011. We will begin reevaluating our membership records to determine matters of discipline that need to be addressed. Our goal of course is not to run people off-- we sincerely want to see the Lord add to the number of His church. However, church membership reflects New Covenant membership and our covenant with each other reflects God's covenant with us. If people are not taking membership seriously and have willfully withdrawn fellowship it indicates they do not take the New Covenant seriously and our corporate responsibility to display God in our membership.
This morning I read Jonathan Leeman of 9 Marks Ministries interview Pastor David King who led his church to remove 575 members from their church role. This is sobering to say the least but it is also encouraging to know there are others in similar situations as our church is and who had the courage of conviction to do the Biblical thing. I pray the Lord will bless such faithfulness to grow healthy churches to His glory.
Read the interview HERE.
HT: Jim Hamilton