Saturday, August 29, 2009

Membership VS. Partnership

I was at Starbucks with my wife and while we sat and sipped away; I picked up a "Starbucks Gold" card application form. Starbucks has a "membership" program. Pay them a yearly fee and get certain perks. It's nothing new, tons of stores offer this type of program to already paying customers.

Some business, in fact however, won't even let you be a customer without a membership.
Blockbuster video,
Sam's Club,
Anytime Fitness gym are a few I've had in my life

Membership seems to be defined as, "pay a fee and receive benefits from our services."

I dare to say this mentality has spilled over into most churches; after all, every church has a membership.
Membership is referred to when answering the famous "how many" question.
It usually goes something like this: So, how many do you have in the church?" "Well we have about 600 members."
But the actual attendance is around 250.
Membership invites a mental understanding that because "I pay, I should get."

I say all this not to poke fun or degrade churches.
I say all this to encourage a change in our view of church attendees.

I'm not interested in doing things because that's how we always did them. So I throw out this simple thought.
Instead of offering "Church Membership" how about "Church Partnership"

Partnership says, "no matter the cost, I'm committed to the vision of this organization."
Partnership goes way beyond dropping your dues into a plate or clocking in your time at the front door.
Partnership is an understanding that it's not about me and it's not about you; it's about them. Those who don't know Christ.

Now if you're reading this and say, "hey, Vince! What you said about partnership is the exact same thing we have as our membership at church."

Great! I say. But remember that's not what our culture and people in our church understand for the most part.
Think about creating a "Church Partnership" mentality in your ministry and watch what happens.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thoughts from the Week

I just got back from the Indiana area where I spent a great week in ministry.
Friday I spent some one on one time with leaders from XENOX Industries and taught some sessions on youth leadership. Saturday night I spoke to the entire youth ministry and had an awesome time in the presence of God.
Sunday morning was an experience in it's self. It was one of those moments in time when God gives a direct word and confirms it in different ways.
I particular enjoyed my time with Pastor Gibson. There was an instant connection I felt in my spirit with him and the members of Charity Tabernacle.
I could feel months worth of "crud" flake off and a new brokenness as I ministered Sunday morning.

This trip was more than just getting to minister, but it was a week getting to connect with Pastors and pick their brain concerning pastoring.

As I sift through the feelings, information and desires in my heart; I know one thing is a must---
get input from others!

At this point in my life, I don't know if I'm to start a new work, or take over an existing work....but I do know this; it will be pastoring. So, I continue my journey.

Here are some thoughts that I picked up from a couple of pastors, as well as my own thoughts, while traveling last week. Thank you pastors David Gibson and Dehner Maurer for your time.

"I don't ever believe it's God's will to start a church by proselyting other church members."--Vince

"Whatever you do; there will always be a price to pay." --Pastor David Gibson

"The best staff is the one you enjoy doing life together with."--Pastor Dehner Maurer

"Commitment and vision is key, and commitment to the vision is a must"--Vince

"When I think of churches doing plays, I often think, who left it up to the church to handle the entertainment department?!?"--Pastor David Gibson

"You can talk about being a multi-culture church, but if you are----it will show up first in your congregation, be evident in your leadership teams, and in plain sight on your staff." --Dehner Maurer