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by Sonja G

Pastor’s Montly Message: Membership

Pastor’s Montly Message: Membership

Friday, August 5, 2016
by Sonja G

“In July St. Peter Lutheran welcomed 8 new families as members into the congregation. That’s the same number of families we welcomed back in January as well. I enjoy the new member classes, as it gives me a chance to get to know the families a little better. I also really enjoy the classes, because I get to share what I love about being Lutheran and about what a great place St. Peter Lutheran is as a church. One of the things I always wrestle with though is the term ‘Membership.’…..

For governance purposes like voting and such, membership is important. It helps the church know who’s committed to the mission and ministry of this particular community of faith. Membership is also a good way of officially welcoming someone as a part of the community. The doors are always open to all people for worship, education and fellowship. Yet, offering an official welcome allows someone to truly feel a part of following the vision and purpose of the church. St. Peter does a great job of this with welcoming them in worship, and serving a meal in honor of the new members.

The challenge of the term “membership” though, is how our culture views the term. Other memberships people may be a part of are gyms, country clubs, museums, zoos, etc. These memberships have something to offer us, so we pay our dues or fees to be a part of them. We look for what has the best options, best value, and best perks. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s how our society works. When we use this mentality and view of membership for the church though, it becomes problematic.

Jesus never intended the church to be like a gym membership where we look for the best bargain for the buck. Nor did He intend it to be like a country club where we can sit back and enjoy all the perks of being a member. Jesus intends the church to be His hands, feet and voice in the world. This means that members have a purpose. Members are the ones being Jesus hands, feet and voice in the world.

This is why St. Peter’s mission is “Gathered to Grow…Sent to Serve.” We gather for the purpose of growing as disciples in the love and grace of God. We are also sent as Jesus disciples to serve the people and world that God so loves. We don’t pay dues or fees, but we do give generously of our time, talent and treasures to further this mission. Giving helps us grow as disciples, and helps serve through our mission together. We don’t look for what we get out of the membership, although we recognize that following Christ Jesus we get more than we could possibly imagine.

According to society standards this might be about the worst bargain you could find. According to Jesus’ standards this is what “abundant life” is all about.

Welcome to the latest members/disciples. Good to have you join with the mission and ministry of St. Peter Lutheran church. May you be filled with the love and grace of God in Christ Jesus as you partner with St. Peter in growing and serving together.”

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