Louisville megachurch, Southeast Christian, recently deleted everyone from their membership rolls at all four of their area campuses. Following five weeks of sermons that focused on core beliefs they asked people to recommit to being a member of the church and to the mission of "connecting people to Jesus and one another by loving where you are." Thousands of people signed colored tiles making a renewed commitment to church membership and to the mission. Hundreds of baptisms also occurred during this emphasis.
At a time when many question the value of church membership this church has emphasized its importance to its congregation and to those they are seeking to reach. But, it's not just signing on to be a member of a church. It's also asking for a commitment to being involved in their mission of reaching people for Jesus Christ.
Too often we are content to "dip 'em and drop 'em" as one writer put it. There is often little discipleship done with these new members nor are they challenged to be involved in the mission of their new church. If they prove to be somewhat faithful in attending services they may eventually be asked to serve on a committee or teach a class.
Growing churches, and Southeast Christian is certainly growing, are not afraid to challenge people to engage in ministry. In fact, I would say that there is a culture of expectation in growing churches that its members will engage in ministry.
There is one element here that does not exist in every church. Southeast Christian has a clear mission to which they can challenge people to engage. If a church has no sense of purpose, no vision for ministry, and is not actively involved in doing intentional ministry, what can they challenge people to do? Mostly, serve on a committee, and that's not very appealing to people who want their lives to make a difference.
What would happen in your church if you removed every member from the church roll? How many would recommit to membership in your church? More importantly, how many would commit to being engaged in the mission of your church? Final question...exactly what is the mission of your church?