Would You Like to JOIN ?

As a student many years ago I worked part-time at a little hotel health club and I still remember fondly many of the people who used to come in for a workout, a sauna or to relax in the Jacuzzi. One guy would come in every so often and sign himself in at reception and potter through to get changed. He’d been coming for years and nobody ever questioned him – he pre-dated the manager and all the part-time staff there, but I gradually became curious because he just breezed in, signed the entry book and never put down a membership number.
One day I deciphered his scribbled signature (Al Mutch) and trawled through the membership records but couldn’t find his name, so the next time I saw him I had a conversation that went a bit like this:
Simon: Excuse me, er… Mr Mutch is it?
Al: ….? (raised eyebrows)
Simon: I hope you don’t mind my asking…. But on what basis are you coming here?
Al: Er…. I’m a member.
Simon: Oh! Only I couldn’t find your name in the records… have you a membership card?
Al (fumbling in pockets): Here.
Al shows Simon a crumpled and disintegrating “guest membership” slip. He has four or five.
Simon: Oh, OK. Have you many left?
Al: Er… a few.
Long story short, Al got the message became a member. As soon as he did, he started coming much more frequently and getting really involved with other members.

For a long time, I was a lot like Al when it came to attending EBC. I’d pitch up most Sundays, maybe put a few quid in the offering basket and I’d say thank you to Dane (our Senior Minister at the time) and that would be that till next Sunday. If you’d asked me at the time I’d have said (and believed!) that I was supporting the church, but really I was just like Al – coming along and enjoying it, but not really contributing at all – and because of that, not really reaping the benefits of full involvement as a member.
Dane had a great saying, which I’ll borrow just now if you might feel I’m being a bit hard on people with my analogy. Dane would sometimes say: “I’m not telling you off… I’m just telling you.”
Chris Porter, who took over from Dane and led EBC as Senior Minister until recently had another great phrase – “I don’t want something from you. I want something for you.”

Here’s what I would want anyone reading this to know. Here at EBC we really want to be a place where anyone (especially people who don’t usually go to church) can come and feel really welcome – and to know that nothing is expected of them. For people who’ve been coming for a while, we really want them to feel and to be fully a part of our church family and to fully feel the benefit of it. But that requires a decision to become fully involved – only by making that decision will anyone truly feel the life-changing benefits that being a truly committed member of God’s holy church brings.

We want people to know the joy of being part of God’s family and to feel the love and support of their church family around them. We want them to build lifelong friendships which grow and challenge them. We want people to feel the great joy of being fully involved in serving and giving regularly to help the poor, the lonely, the homeless and people of all ages who find themselves adrift in life and feeling apart from God and other people. We want people to have the deep joy and purpose and meaning that followers of Jesus can know and flourish in as they “do life” together as His gathered church.

So if you’re new to EBC – that’s what’s on offer, and we invite you to start coming, with no strings attached. If you’ve been coming for a while but haven’t really engaged and committed, please come and talk with me or Steph or any of the Leadership team. We’ll be delighted to talk with you about how you can get more involved and about what becoming a member means.
If you don’t, you’re missing out. I’m not telling you off – I’m just telling you. And I’m telling you not because I want something from you, but because I want something for you. See you at church!


Simon Lace, Joint Acting Senior Minister, 07/10/2016