Discovering Membership: Introduction

Over the last few months in our church meetings, Leaders meetings and Elders meetings, as well as during many informal conversations, it’s become very clear that there is a strong sense that the next phase of our church life here at EBC needs to focus on our spiritual growth.

We’ve made great strides in becoming a very welcoming and inviting place, filled with welcoming and inviting people running lots of inviting services and events across many different times  - and this is fantastic! Our approach has enabled us to become a church that people who don’t normally “do church” have begun to attend and to love being part of! 

It’s clear that at EBC we have a love for people and want them to get to know God and have a deepening relationship with Him. We want to keep doing all of the things we’ve been doing – engaging with people on their terms and inviting them in just as they are!

At the same time, we have a sense that there is more work to be done on helping each other deepen our relationship with God, and each other. Whilst we want everyone to be part of EBC and to feel they really belong with us, there is also a point at which we want everyone to transition from belonging to our wider church family to a point where they truly believe in and commit to Jesus Christ and His church, which EBC is of course a part of.

One very significant step in the journey from attending to committing is church membership. With this in mind, I have been working with the Leadership Team and others on a new Discovering Membership course, which will be appearing in this blog (and ultimately as a hard-copy booklet too) over the next few weeks.

I encourage you to follow the blog and to be pondering and discussing with friends who are members or who are attending EBC but not yet members.

The course covers the following areas –
  •     What is “church”? – clarifying that church is neither a club for Christians nor anyone else but a called-out gathering on a mission for God!
  •     Vision, Mission and Values – how what we do at EBC traces directly to Jesus’s teaching.
  •     Belonging: A church for everyone – EBC invites people to come as they are, even if they don’t “do church” or believe in God!
  •     Believing & committing: Membership – a very significant step that goes beyond attending and belonging
  •     Indications – what are the indications that membership may be appropriate for someone?
  •     Significance – why membership is a vital, Christ-centred core at the heart of what EBC is
  •     The Small Print – how membership relates back to our legal and constitutional status
  •     Next Steps – what does the process towards being a member look like?
I’m really excited about this course and the potential impact it could have for EBC and its attenders and members. The plan is to run through the material online (and make it available in booklet form) and to flag it up in the coming weeks at every opportunity. 

After that we’ll make a big invitation on our services around the end of April for people to take the next steps towards becoming a member, recommitting to their existing membership, and marking out those new or renewed commitments in a public and celebratory way – not just this first time around but as an ongoing principle every time we have someone become a member.

So, in summary –
  •     We’ll run the course here on the blog, step by step, as set out above
  •     We’ll steer people towards it and make it available in hard-copy format
  •     We’ll make a clear invitation for people to explore actually becoming a member
  •     We’ll arrange a meeting to run through the material together to make sure they really  “get” what being a member is all about and that the time is     right for them
  •     We’ll invite people to come to a church meeting to talk about their journey towards membership
  •     At that church meeting, the church members will vote to accept them (don’t be worried – we’ll be pretty sure of the outcome before putting you       up there!)
  •     We’ll arrange a lovely welcome at the next service!

Ooh, I’m excited! See you soon!
Simon Lace, 30/03/2017