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.

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