December 2016 Family Talk
Wow! So many things that we could talk about today...new staff opportunities… Gospel Community groups forming...Christmas celebrations...missions offerings...where does a pastor start when he wants to talk to his beloved family? As important as all of these things are, perhaps there is one thing that I need to talk with you more than anything else this December: “I Love My Church” cards. A week or so ago, all of our members received a packet which included a card that is titled “I Love My Church.” In essence, this is membership renewal card, something that was approved by the church family several months ago as a part of our new by-laws. All active members have been asked to return their cards by December 18, but I know some of you still have questions. To help answer those, let me use my column space to set up a “Q&A” with you. Ready? Here goes!
Q: Why do we need to “renew” our membership?
A: Technically, you’re not renewing your membership per se; in reality you are merely reaffirming your commitment to being a member of the church family. Those who choose to return their cards are referred to as “members in good standing,” which gives them the privilege of voting in church meetings and holding elected positions in the church.
Q: If I don’t return my card, does that mean that I’m no longer a member?
A: Absolutely not! It just means that you do not have the privileges listed above; no one will be removed from membership merely by failing to return their card by the 18th.
Q: What is the real reason for signing these cards?
A: There are two reasons. The first is spiritual. The Bible teaches that, as a church family, we should be accountable to one another in Christian love. By signing your renewal card, you acknowledge that mutual accountability. Second, by signing our renewal cards, we protect the church from potential liability issues if people who are nominal members try to force us to perform services for them that are not in alignment with our core beliefs.
Q: But, what if there are issues in our church’s teachings that I honestly don’t agree with?
A: That’s a great question! Being in a covenant relationship with a group (like a church family) doesn't mean that we are unanimous in our opinions on everything. However, there should be broad agreement on the core teachings of the group, especially in one’s outward, public actions. f you have a question about a particular issue in our church’s doctrine and teaching, I would urge you to contact me so that we can sit down and discuss it!
Q: Last question: what exactly will happen if you don’t receive my renewal card by the 18th?
A: You will receive a follow-up letter or a phone call to make certain that you didn’t forget to send in your card, or that it was lost. Once we are sure of your intent, we will make the adjustments in our church membership records.