Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Membership Matters: Helping the Next Generation Understand the Purpose and Value of Being a Member of the Church

It has become popular for Christians to attend a church they like but to not actually join that church.
  • Many feel that the current generation wants all the benefits but not the responsibilities of life.
  • It seems that the next generation is a group of non-joiners.
  • Older generations were "joiners" but younger generations are less willing to join.
  • This is true in the church, but also in community groups and civic organizations as well. Those groups are also struggling to attract younger members.
  • Author Joshua Harris calls people who like to come to church but not join "church daters."
  • While any age person can be a "church dater," it is especially common among adults under 50 years of age.
Church Daters tend to:
  • Be self-centered. We go to church for what we get out of it.
  • Be independent. We go to church because that is what Christians are supposed to do, but don't expect us to invest ourselves in the church.
  • Be critical. We are quick to find fault with our church and don't mind talking about it.
The problem with being a church dater is:
  • We cheat ourselves out of the blessing of being a real part of the church.
  • We cheat the church out of being able to use our gifts, talents and skills.
  • We cheat the world out of hearing the Gospel in the most effective way, which is through the church.
Some church daters say they are loyal to the universal church instead of the local church.
  • Almost every time the word church appears in the New Testament, it refers to a particular group of Christians that we would call a local church.
  • Though the universal church is important, the New Testament emphasizes the local church more than the universal church.
  • While the local church may have issues, we should still love the church because Jesus loved the church.
  • We cannot use the excuse that the local church has messed up too many times or that we have become disillusioned.
  • Jesus is the only person who has the right to disown the church, and He never has and He never will.
Why Do We Need the Local Church?
  • We are often completely blind when it comes to our own weaknesses. The local church helps point them out.
  • We also have an obligation to help others overcome their weaknesses. The local church is the place we can do that.
  • We need the power that comes from corporate worship. Private worship is great, but corporate worship does something that private worship just can't replace.
Why Should We Become a Member of a Church?
  • Becoming a member gives us specific accountability, care, encouragement and leadership.
  • Becoming a member means we are making the church a key priority instead of a secondary commitment.
  • Becoming a member means we try to make our pastor's job easier.
  • Becoming a member means we find ways to serve. Serving is the fastest way to feel a sense of ownership in our church.
  • Becoming a member means we give. When we tithe (10%), we are telling God that we trust Him to provide for us.
  • Becoming a member helps us connect with people so we can share life with them. 
Compiled by Dr. Terry Dorsett from Stop Dating the Church and Fall in Love with the Family of God by Joshua Harris.


  1. My copy of Harris' book arrived today. It's on top of my "WANT TO READ" pile now. (FYI - it's available at cbd.com for 9.99.)

  2. Great post! I certainly agree.

  3. Keith Williams, Santa Fe, New MexicoMay 19, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    I like this.