03 Nov Why Membership Really Matters
At Storyline, we believe that church membership is not only biblical, but it is wonderfully counter-cultural. Commitment is a low commodity in our neck of the woods and we challenge people often to move from “the bleacher seats to the ball field.” Here’s why.
5 Reasons We Want You to Join
When a person tries out our church, we understand the reality of a dating period. A season of testing is wise, as it allows a person to put one’s “toe in the water” of the teaching, the vision, and the philosophy before diving headfirst. And we would be wrong to think that we’re everyone’s cup of tea.
Having said that, as a person comes to peace in calling Storyline their church home, we see five reasons why membership makes perfect sense.
- We see membership as a crucial part of the New Testament church.
At Storyline, we are committed to following the biblical guidelines for our lives and for our church. Many verses indicate that the early New Testament churches kept a list of their members. In Hebrews 13:17, for example, the early Christians are called to follow their leaders. How did they know who their leaders were? How did the leaders know who they were called to lead? Cross-references make this clear: the leaders of the churches were often called pastors, a word that means shepherd. These shepherds were expected to track the sheep and monitor their spiritual growth. In order for a shepherd to be accountable for the sheep, he has to know how many he has, and ensure that some haven’t wandered away.
- We see internal leadership coming soon.
In the early years of Storyline’s existence, it felt wise for Ben to be held accountable by an external board of overseers. Three godly men from supporting churches were carefully selected as the leadership scaffolding that eventually would fall away. Ben believes that in 2017 Storyline should take steps toward an internal leadership structure, with the membership base nominating and approving internal elders. Storyline will soon be: “elder-led, staff-managed, congregationally approved.” Obviously, it would be foolish to allow just anyone to vote on elders. Membership matters because leadership selection matters.
- We strive for unity in both doctrine and philosophy.
Our church is a melting pot of people from all kinds of religious backgrounds. In some ways, this diversity brings strength and promotes a generous-mindedness among us. However, in order for our church to be unified, a clear theology and vision must be presented and maintained. We can’t row in a thousand directions and hope to arrive in a meaningful place. Sadly, this means that some people may attend our Discover Storyline class, hear more about our beliefs and vision, and then choose to attend elsewhere. We completely understand this reality, and yet, we hope that our clarity in both doctrine and direction will energize many. Through the membership process, we can all get on the same page.
- We think that off-line membership meetings are essential.
Beginning December 2016, Storyline will hold quarterly “members-only” meetings. The intention of these meetings is to share the inner-workings of our church—to put more cards on the table in terms of our annual strategic plan, unfolding vision, the state of our finances, targeted prayer needs, increased feedback…etc.
Attempting to share all this information on Sunday mornings, with many first-time guests, seems silly. Therefore, in 2017, we will gather at least four times for meaningful dialogue about the future, and to inform our members on where we feel led to go.
- We think it’s good for your soul.
There are many reasons why church membership is a blessing to the church and to her pastors, but even more so, we believe that the lion’s share of the blessing is FOR YOU. In a day when “wishy-washy” is cool, the Bible calls you a vital part of “the Body.” Upon salvation, you become a strategic member of something larger than self-actualization. Don’t amputate yourself; fulfill your God-given service. As a person identifies more and more closely with Christ’s body, the soul will grow, along with the influence of the local church.
Immediate Opportunities To Join
On Sunday, December 4 at 5 PM, Storyline will hold her first ever “members-only” meeting at West Woods Elementary School. Would you like to join so that you can jump into that discussion? Here are some opportunities to do that:
Discover Storyline: Wednesday, Nov 9th @the Duncan YMCA, 6:30-8:00 PM (Sign up here)
Discover Storyline: Sunday Dec. 4th @ either service, 9:00-10:15 or 10:30-11:45 (Sign up here)
A sit-down coffee
If both of those group times present impossible problems for you, email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our pastors will reach out to you. We can’t make promises but will do our best to help you move forward in membership.