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Does Membership Matter?

Encouraging a deeper commitment

The concept of church membership has gone through some dramatic changes in the last couple of generations.

There was a day when for churches, as for certain elite credit cards, "membership had its privileges," and people wanted to be members of a church. It was good for business. They liked the association. It was "my family's church," even if they didn't attend more than once a year. In such churches membership rolls were much larger than weekly attendance.

With the emergence of casual, come-as-you-are churches, the dynamic shifted. More people were happy to attend but not to commit themselves to anything. These congregations, not wanting to put unnecessary barriers in the way of people hearing the gospel and feeling welcome in the church, downplayed membership. In these churches, attendance is often several times the size of the actual membership.

All of this reveals the confusion about what church membership actually means. If people see church membership as just another social club or ...

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