Make Disciples or Members
I have had an increasing struggle with the concept of church membership. I believe in church membership, and I am an incredible supporter of congregational leadership – I certainly want to hear from others what God is speaking to their hearts and the vision and passion He is growing within them. The struggle I have relates to my call to make disciples of Christ.
I understand and agree that our churches need to grow in membership and size. Truly, we are shrinking. As the population of the United States, or even more simplified Arizona, grows our churches must grow by an equal rate to simply maintain our current ministry… But we are not. We are staying the same in number or growing slower than the population growth around us.
My struggle is that I am becoming increasingly convinced that the reason we struggle is because our churches are full of members and interested parties, but not disciples of Jesus Christ. This is why it is the same 10 people that are involved in everything at the church. This is why our ministers are living in poverty. It is because we are gathering people, but failing to make disciples.
Read what Whitfield wrote regarding this same struggle:
Thy heart is not right in the sight of God
The worst of all mockeries is a religion that leaves the heart unchanged: a religion that has everything but the love of Christ enshrined in the soul.