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Taking Membership Seriously

Why it's time to raise the bar.

Membership is not all that important at our church, about a third of respondents to a recent Leadership Weekly poll said. While 38 percent said attenders were frequently urged to join, and 34 percent said the membership appeal was occasionally given, the remainder said their church placed little or no emphasis on membership. That trend, according to many experts, is a mistake, the costly result of a casual, come-as-you-are attitude.

Rather than emphasizing their casual atmosphere, Ken Sande of Peacemaker Ministries says it's time for churches to raise the bar. Emphasizing membership can protect the church from the growing threat of lawsuits.

Why do many churches no longer emphasize membership?

First, we've given in to our culture's antagonism toward commitment. Like parents who are afraid to discipline their teenagers, church leaders are afraid they will be unpopular for emphasizing commitment and accountability.

Second, there is a concern that if we create a barrier at the front door to ...

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