It’s important to encourage attenders to join our church — because they’ll NEVER grow spiritually without a commitment to live out what the Bible teaches while in a relationship with others.
As we encourage church membership, it’s important to keep in mind these five unspoken needs that prospective members are looking for our church to meet.
- Will I be accepted at this church? – We meet this need best by establishing affinity groups within our church so that people with similar ages, interests, problems, or backgrounds can find and relate to each other. Everyone needs a niche, and small groups play a crucial role in meeting this need. We must show people that we have a place for them. Our Sunday and Wednesday opportunities are great because they can get involved, and if they have children, there is a quality and comprehensive process for discipling kids.
- Will I find friends at this church? – People are looking for opportunities to develop relationships within our congregation. People aren’t looking for a friendly church as much as they’re looking for friends. The most common feedback we get off the Connection Cards and e-mail surveys is that we are a friendly and welcoming church. Let’s NOT just be polite but bring people in to our circles of commitment.
- How will I make a difference at this church? – People want to make contribution with their lives. They want their lives to count. They want to feel that they matter. When we can show people that they can make a difference with their gifts and talents by joining our church, they will want to get involved. What can we dream up to get people involved, that will need all sorts of talents and abilities — not just singers, ushers and small group leaders. Take a look here on ways to get involved.
- How will I benefit from joining this church? – We must be able to clearly and concisely explain the reasons and benefits of membership. Explain the biblical, practical, and personal reasons for membership. We have put together a simple brochure on what membership is so important.
- What will be expected of me at this church? We must be able to explain the responsibilities of membership as clearly as we state the benefits of it. People have a right to know what is expected of them before they join. The Connections Class is a great way to get to know people who are on a similar life journey and to understand what King’s Grant membership is all about.
[print_link] [email_link] [ Adapted From Rick Warren ]
I am intrigued at Jesus’ command that we are to be in the world but not of the world (John 17:16, 18). It forces us to determine where our loyalty lies; and not to run from the lost in favor of our own holy huddle with other believers. Our primary fellowship is changed from old friends to new believing friends, but we cannot forsake our old friends. Our relationship changes from one of fellowship to one of evangelism. While going alone to reach out to old unbelieving friends may cause one to revert back to old patterns of behavior, going with a strong fellow believer may provide the strength and security needed to reach out to lost friends. After all, Jesus sent the first missionaries out in teams of two (Luke 10:1, 2-3).
But before he sent out the 70 (or 72) take a look at those who were closest to Jesus:
Soon afterward, Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women he had healed and from whom he had cast out evil spirits. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples. (Luke 8:1-3).
This is one of those passages from the Gospels that receives relatively little attention, but when you read it carefully, you may be surprised by what you learn.
The passage begins by describing Jesus’ kingdom ministry, which is no surprise. We know that Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom of God in the region of Galilee, and that he took his twelve disciples with him (Luke 8:1). But then Luke describes an interesting group of Jesus followers, people who were essential to his ministry but are rarely remembered: some women he had healed and from whom he had cast out evil spirits like Mary Magdalene (from whom he had cast out seven demons), Joanna (the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager), Susanna, and many others who were contributing their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples. (Luke 8:2-3).
There are several surprises here:
1. The first is that Jesus’ traveling entourage included many women. Not only did most rabbis in the time of Jesus exclude women from their teaching, but associating with women would have led to suspicion and criticism.
Why did these women follow Jesus? Luke says that Jesus had healed them and cast out evil spirits from them. This implies that they followed Jesus out of gratitude and love, an implication that is supported by the passage in Luke that precedes this one (Luke 7:36-50).
Among those who followed Jesus were Mary Magadalene, who is mentioned for the first time in Luke. Another follower was a woman named Joanna, who was the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager (Luke 8:3). To me, this comes as a bit of a shock! We would not expect such a woman to follow Jesus, both because of her connection to Herod Antipas, who was no fan of Jesus, and because she was surely a person of financial means. Her experience of God’s love through Jesus was powerful enough for her to leave her comfortable and safe life in order to support Jesus.
2. Luke notes that Joanna was one of those who were contributing their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples (Luke 8:3). But using their own savings, and perhaps by earning money along the way, the female followers of Jesus provided the financial base for him and his followers to focus on proclaiming the kingdom of God.
The presence of these women among the close followers of Jesus serves as an encouragement to women today, who can sometimes feel like second-class Christians in our male-leadership dominated church culture. It emphasizes the fact that all Christians have a valuable and necessary role to play in the ministry of the kingdom. Some, those who are gifted for preaching, should preach. Others, who are gifted for making money, should provide financial support for the mission of Christ. The church of Jesus Christ will be what God intends it to be only if each and every person, male and female, faithfully utilizes the gifts and opportunities God has given.
Application: When you picture the traveling entourage of Jesus, do you include the women who traveled with him? Why or why not? How does the presence of these women who supported Jesus and the twelve encourage you in your discipleship and Christian service?What are some things that you have given up to follow Jesus? What may be keeping you from following Jesus and you sense God may be asking you to give up. In what ways has God called you to support the mission of Christ? Tithing? Giving to missions? Serving in missions? Impacting your community, school or office? Have you ever taken a spiritual gifts inventory to discover the areas of ministry that would best suit your wiring, talent and personality? [ Take a free online inventory here ]
We are called to love God and love others as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39), and by our love all men will know that we are His disciples (John 13:35), and we are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), but sometimes it’s pretty difficult to do all this. Isn’t it great that God doesn’t leave us to do it on our own? He wants to live through us (Galatians 2:20).
Our love to God is measured by our everyday fellowship with others and the love it displays. — Andrew Murray
There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. — Mother Teresa
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? — Abraham Lincoln
Top 10 Ways to Love When It’s Hard:
- Pray regularly for that person, even if he feels like an enemy.
- Look for practical ways to serve him, even if he doesn’t know.
- Be available; time is the most precious gift you can offer.
- Take opportunities to honor and speak well of that one.
- Include him, when appropriate, in special activities.
- Sometimes a hug or brief touch can communicate what words cannot.
- Take the risk to share your heart with that person; be the real you.
- If possible, worship or pray together or in a small group.
- Journal your desire for God’s good in his life.
- Thank God for changing your thoughts about that person.