Is Membership Important? Part 2
Pastors and leaders, membership should not be a peripheral element of church life. It should not be something that is addressed apologetically to new people. It should not be only for those who want to be on the board. Membership / partnership should be celebrated. We were created to belong!
As a pastor, the greatest push back I experienced about membership was from Christians. I discipled new believers into membership – they understood membership as a part of growing in Christ. Christians on the other hand, resisted membership for various reasons, for instance: “it’s not in the Bible”; they had been “burned or hurt” before; “I’m a member of the universal Body of Christ”. Let’s respond to these.
To those who have been burned or hurt, I’m truly sorry that this was your experience. Please allow us to pray with you so that you can move towards healing. We can take your time. Church family can be a beautiful thing.
There are at least FIVE metaphors or images used in the New Testament to help us understand what “Church” is. Consider each metaphor closely. Notice how in the first four listed below that membership to the whole is essential for the healthy functioning. For instance, a body part removed from the body is called “severed” or “amputated”; a soldier away from her unit is AWOL or lost; a family member away from family is loss or dysfunction; a building with missing bricks is incomplete and drafty and unsafe… Maybe that’s what people see when they look at the church and don’t have any desire to explore: members missing or something very incomplete.
- 1 Corinthians 12:27 Body of Christ
- Ephesians 6:11-18 Army
- Romans 4:16 Family
- Ephesians 2:19-22 Building
- Ephesians 5:32 Bride
Membership is meant to be:
- The visible identification with the body of Christ (the Church). There is no example of a believer in the New Testament who is not connected to a local church family. Paul is arguably an exception, but remember his calling was to start local churches! Good for you that you identify as a member of the Body of Christ – how and where?! In your own head? Belonging requires relationship (membership is a declaration of your relationship with a local church).
- The means of nurturing believers by holding them accountable for their faith. Membership should be a natural part of the discipleship process. Our FMCiC definition of discipleship says that we believe that discipleship includes the nurturing of church family in the disciplee’s life.
- The safeguard against heresy & disunity and church hopping! In Romans 16:1 Paul was in essence transferring Phoebe’s membership. Why was it important that he do this for her and the Roman church?
- A step of obedience to the Bible, as membership is a part of the Biblical pattern for church. Re-read Acts and notice the pattern: people believed, were baptized, and “added to the number” (conversion, confession and community / church family). There is evidence that the “added to the number” was an actual membership list in some areas. Regardless, “added to their number” clearly meant that these new converts were members of the Christian community. Everyone belonged to a particular community because it was within community that people were married, buried, received help, ‘banked’ or received ‘welfare’, etc. To this day, people are members of clubs, organizations, and communities – I mean open your wallet, and count the number of membership cards you have! It is a natural thing to become a member of a church family – in fact you were created for it.
- The opportunity to discover & use your special giftedness to build God’s Kingdom. Church family is God’s idea, and it is God who orchestrates gifts in each local church (1 Corinthians 12).
Let’s reverse the trend: pastors and leaders celebrate membership. Make membership a natural part of your church’s discipleship process: Disciple into membership. This past weekend MEGAP met for our annual face to face meeting. These men and women are entrusted by you to identify potential leaders, help develop our leaders, and support them in ministry. These are high quality Godly people who prayed for you, trained, considered policy, developed strategy to support you, and care deeply for you. Thank you MEGAP for all your work.
Year end report: I’m sorry about the length of this week’s notes, but I wanted you to have the 2018 year end report before you receive the “FMCiC 3 Year Ministry Plan” next week. Please click here to review.
Attention: Pastors and Delegates!
It’s that time of year—the Annual Report for 2018 for your church is due on February 20, 2019. You will find the Annual Report on the home page of our website at www.fmcic.ca.
Annual Report in English: https://fs1.formsite.com/reports/form141/index.html?1406294972546
Annual Report in French: https://fs1.formsite.com/reports/form144/index.html?1420832672433
This year we have included a guide (pdf) to help you understand and complete the Annual Report. We trust that we will be helpful to you in completing the form. Attached you will find a template (in pdf) to help you gather information from your treasurer (and others) and to note your Network Leader Evaluation numbers before you start to file the report online.
We do appreciate your filing online if possible, but you can fax or mail your report to the Ministry Centre as well – [email protected] / 905-848-2603 Please note:
Network Leader Evaluation – each person who attends Network meetings should file.
The Lead Pastor’s evaluation of the Network Leader will be included with the Annual Report; all others can file through this link: Network Leader Evaluation
Please keep in mind that we ask for the same statistics every year for the Annual Report, so a system should be in place to gather this information. Every church and church plant must file a report.
Church Health Thursdays – What The Church Can Do Differently in 2019: https://www.fmcic.ca/what-the-church-can-do-differently-in-2019/
News & Stories Blog – The Story of a Narrative Budget: https://www.fmcic.ca/the-story-of-a-narrative-budget/
the conneXion – a Free Methodist theology blog: 3 Minute Theology 2.5: Knowing the Bible Inside Out: http://www.fmcic.ca/3-minute-theology-2-5-knowing-the-bible-inside-out/
New Leaf Network: Race relations and bringing solutions as the church: https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/podcast/ep-61-lennett-j-anderson-keitha-ogbogu-race-relations-and-bringing-solutions-as-the-church/
Faith and Finances Website: http://faithandfinances.ca
(Re)Imagine Mission is Tearfund Canada’s one-day conference on Integral Mission. Hosted in 4 cities on 4 different days, (Re)Imagine Mission gives pastors and ministry leaders from all across Canada the opportunity to reimagine the face of traditional missions -especially as it relates to our call to serve the poor. As many churches and pastors are already engaged in conversations about the future of local and international missions, (Re)Imagine Mission provides you with an opportunity to hear from knowledgeable speakers and participate in breakout sessions to share your ideas with others. Here is the link to the event: https://tearfund.ca/reimagine-mission/
Ordination and Commissioning Services Schedule
Louis Innocent – ordination service on March 17, 2019 at 2 pm, Eglise Methodiste Libre La Foi Des Elus, Repentigny, QC
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES http://www.fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/
Register online through the link above.
Lay Ministers tracking for credentialed ministry and those transferring ordination credentials into the FMCiC need to take the following two courses for full credit – and if possible, the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology.
Heart of Canadian Free Methodism: June 7-9, 2019 – location TBA* November 1-3, 2019 – location TBA*
Wesleyan Theology: June 7-9, 2019 – location TBA* November 1-3, 2019 – location TBA* (also available online through FMC-USA: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/courses/)
Ministerial Candidates tracking for Commissioned or Ordained Minister are required to take the following two courses for full credit. Those who are already commissioned or ordained are required to either audit these two courses for 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) each or take the two courses and complete the assignments for 3 CEUs each.
Culture and the Missional Church: Date and location TBA
Personal and Church Stewardship: 5-week online course (FRENCH) – start date – TBA 6-week online course (ENGLISH) – start date – TBA (*locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early!)
2019 SCHOLARSHIPS http://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/
February 15 is the deadline to apply for the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for any courses taken during Winter semester of 2019. See instructions and The 2019 application forms and instructions are now available to download from the link above.
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during 2019 – apply online from the link above
CONTINUING EDUCATION UNITS (CEUs) https://www.fmcic.ca/introduction-to-continuing-education/
Ordained and Commissioned Ministers (except retirees) are to annually report Continuing Education Units (CEUs) acquired during each year. Check the link above for information on CEUs, the report form and a list of examples of many different types of life-long learning that can be applied as CEUs.
Note: For those who attended the fall Minister’s Conferences, add 6 hours of CEU credit when you send in your annual CEU report.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION Interviewing
Caistor Centre FMC, Caistor Centre, ON Madoc Wesleyan/FMC, Madoc, ON Weyburn FMC, Weyburn, SK
Church Profiles available Contact Susan DePlanché in the Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 289-228-1225 (deadline to apply in brackets)
(If you are interested in reviewing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Susan in the Leadership Development Office [[email protected] or 289-228-1225] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.)
Athens FMC, Athens, ON (Angel Valentin-Transition Pastor) Hampton FMC, Saskatoon, SK New Horizons Community Church – Sarnia, ON (Kim Henderson-Interim Pastor) Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (Abbs So and Shadow Lau-Interim Co-Pastors) Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES Youth Pastor – Malvern Methodist Church