24 Apr Why membership?
As Ben shared recently, a church is not a building—it’s a tribe of people. After almost three months into this church-planting endeavor, we’re acutely aware of this fact with no “permanent” place of our own. Instead, our growing community invades West Woods Elementary every Sunday, and we remain grateful to the faculty and staff for providing this “nomadic” bunch a place to call home for a while.
Tribes and communities are often bound by more than walls and property lines—they share a commitment. At Storyline, we formalize this commitment through church membership.
People often wonder why it’s important or even necessary to be a member of a local church. If the local church is the image of Christ on earth, shouldn’t we model His commitment to it? It’s hard to be committed to place where you drop in occasionally and anonymously, rarely putting forth the effort to share with others what Christ has done for you.
Across the country, groups based around a membership model have been declining for years—think Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions Club and other service groups. Younger generations have a far greater ability to connect with one another than when these groups were first established in the early 1900s, and they’re generally less interested in service and volunteerism—or, to be fair, they see community service differently than through coordinated groups.
But the trend isn’t unique to civic institutions. Churches have started to notice the decline in membership, too. As Thom Rainer explains, “church membership is becoming less and less meaningful in many churches. As membership becomes less meaningful, commitment naturally wanes.” Put simply, many churches have failed to make membership—and commitment—important.
At Storyline, we believe that membership is important. As we explain at our Discover Storyline gatherings, there are six commitments we expect of Storyline members:
- Attend weekend services faithfully
- Participate in a Home Group
- Use your spiritual gifts somewhere in the church
- Protect the unity of the church through healthy, humble confrontation.
- Build 3-5 relationships per year with unbelievers
These are the hallmarks of a Storyline member. It’s not perfection that we seek, but commitment, and we believe this model is both Biblical and sustainable. A healthy church is made up of people with a shared vision and a shared commitment, and we’re excited that God is growing this tribe of people as we reach the Arvada community with the hope of Christ.
Editor’s note: If this resonates with you, or if you’re still curious what Storyline Fellowship is all about, our Discovery Storyline events are great opportunities to have your questions answered, meet other attendees and hear from Storyline leaders about our history and future plans. The next gathering is on Wednesday, May 13th, so mark your calendars now and register here!