Many churches report declining worship attendance. I was in a church the other day when the pastor shared that the membership of the church is 1,300, but the average in worship attendance is just under 300—and the elders are concerned.
That’s the symptom.
The causative issues might surprise you.
Some churches emphasize “membership” as a dominant factor.
They require classes to become a member.
This subconsciously signals that “membership” is primarily an academic issue.
It also communicates: once you’re “in,” you’re good for life.
Membership—your name on a list—subconsciously reflects, “An eternal life insurance policy.”
Worship, Bible study, ongoing spiritual growth, is viewed as an option.
“Membership” focuses on the institution.
The idea of a “member” of an organization is a foreign concept to Scripture.
What Scripture does say is that we are “members” of the body of Christ, and He is the head.
When all parts of the body (of Christ) are working together, the body grows and builds itself up in love.
Using the metaphor of the body, it is insightful to think about your liver being absent, except for showing up on Christmas and Easter. You would be in pretty bad shape!
Christianity, and membership, are seen as optional issues for when you need it, rather than a lifestyle.
Issue #1: Many Christians have never been acculturated into the relational Kingdom of God culture.
Issue #2: Many Christians lack biblical knowledge about the theology of the church. They are caught in a worldly definition of church as “just another organization.”
More on this in my next post….