Choosing to Join King’s Grant Baptist Church is an important decision. People today will wonder in and out of our services without ever understanding how important church membership is unless pastors and leaders help them understand that, but also properly shepherd them through the process of joining. I include church leaders because the pastor cannot do it alone.
According to LifeWay research, 64% of churches either have nothing to assimilate new members, or no systemic plan to move people towards membership. This is why I offer the Connection Class several times throughout the year.
Connection Classes Help Guard the Purity of the Church: In our culture the statement “I am a Christian” can mean different things to different people, so it is important to make sure that everyone desiring membership in our church understands and believes the gospel. During a class we might find some people have never heard the gospel clearly articulated even if they grew up in church. So, it is so helpful to talk about the “secrets of being a healthy and happy church member.” The key to health and happiness in church membership is understanding salvation. It is so good to hear someone’s testimony along with presenting a basic gospel presentation before they join our church. Our Connection class provides church the opportunity to explain the gospel clearly.
Connection Classes Help People Understand the Church: These classes help people in the church to be “on the same page.” I believe that a prospective member should know what the church believes on essential and non-essential doctrines, the meaning of church ordinances, how a church works, and how it makes decisions, with who we associate and partner, lifestyle beliefs. We also spend time communicating the church vision, core values, and explain its ministry philosophy can be an important aspect of helping someone make the decision to join the church. Teaching these things can also help new people learn what they can expect from the church leaders, processes, and its ministries, and what the congregation can expect out of them.
Connection Classes Help People Plug In to Serve the Church: We need to provide an effective environment to plug people into serving in our church. All members have certain gifts and abilities that can be used in serving God and others through the church. When someone first joins, it can be difficult to figure out where to get involved. We cannot assume that a new member will automatically want to get involved in ministry and will know how to do so. In our Connection Class, people learn that the congregation expects them to get involved, and learn of entry level opportunities for service.
Connection Classes Help Guard the Unity of the Church: When a church emphasizes membership expectations, we are able to raise the bar of membership. While a scary thing, we also should talk about what would happen if church members did not live up to membership expectations. Clarity in the Connection Class goes a long way in setting the church member on the right path. This information can serve to preempt potential church discipline issues later on.
Connection Classes Help People Assimilate Into the Church: We see the class as an opportunity to encourage regular attendees to get to know other potential members of the church, as well as leaders in the church. While the primary purposes of the Connection Class is for church orientation and teaching doctrine, mission, values, and vision, this relational orientation to church leaders is a very positive thing.
The writers of the New Testament assumed that the local churches to whom they were writing had a clear understanding of who was a member of the church and who was not (1 Corinthians 5:2; Colossians 4:5; Galatians 6:10). The Connection Class is one of the most effective ways to examine, assimilate, and clearly guide new members into our church family.
[print_link] [email_link] Adapted from Matt Capps, and Ministry Grid