Vol 12 No. 11 To Be Or Not To Be. A Member. That Is The Question

Dear friends,

In our contemporary culture there is an ever increasing tendency in two contradictory directions.  The first is an incredible proliferation of affinity cards from any number of businesses and associations.  You know what those are like.  You may or may not use them yourself.

There is also a high degree of resistance to joining.  The result is declining membership in many organisations.  There are complicated issues in this decline.  For a while the Royal Canadian Legion was losing members for the simple demographic reason that its members had aged out.  There is now a resurgence for obvious reasons.  In addition, there are demographic surges.  The Roman Catholic Church in Canada has been the greatest beneficiary (after Islam) from immigration.

The whole issue of elongated attendance, where people come less frequently to church but still feel they are part of a church, is another issue altogether.  It is a topic we have addressed in previous newsletters.  There is a considerable problem in many churches where Christian communities have adopted secular governance models.  Part of these models are created for legal and financial reasons as per recent rules of the Canadian Revenue Agency or concerns about liability risk management.  This has resulted in many of our churches being framed around the legal concept of being a society under provincial jurisdiction.  As you know, one of the requirements of a society are rules around membership.

This long introduction to this newsletter is to preface one particular helpful model of how a community re-covenants each year together.  I believe in church membership, and its fair and biblical application.  Yet I also believe that sometimes we fall into the area of taking membership too seriously (being an impermeable wall that keeps people out) or we take membership too lightly (in the case of one church’s membership review, finding people on our roles who are long since dead)… A membership of convenience.

Kleefeld Christian Community in Manitoba is a church which presents us with a wholly different model; one that is suited to them and might be impossible for others.  However, it is an annual re-covenanting of relationship that is worthy of our reflection and possible modification.  We benefit from serious consideration of this in an era where for many the serious experience of being part of a Christian community has not been in fact taken seriously for quite sometime.



Kleefeld Christian Community: Covenant of Membership

As a believer in Christ, whether a baptized adult or a believing child, I want to make a covenant with the rest of you at Kleefeld Christian Community.

This is what I covenant before God:

I will meet regularly with you. (Heb 10:25)

I will encourage you to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, by urging you to live a life full of love and good deeds, more and more as Christ’s return gets closer. (Mt 6:33; Heb 10:24-25)

I will offer myself to God, so He can use me to help you – spiritually, physically, and emotionally. (John 13:14-15; James 2:15-17; 1 John 3:17-18)

I will guard the unity of the Body, so I do not grieve the Holy Spirit. This means that I will speak to you and about you only in ways that will build you up. (Eph 4:3, 29-30)

Because God has forgiven me and keeps forgiving me, I will forgive you when you hurt or offend me. (Col 3:12-13)

I will pray for you, share your happiness and your tears. I will accept your help and your gifts with thankfulness, as wholeheartedly as I offer you my help and my gifts. (Eph 6:18; Rom 12:15; 1 Cor 14:26)

I will encourage you, help you, be patient with you, and work to do and say what is good for you. (1 Thess 5:14-15)

Together with you I offer myself, my prayers, my tithes and offerings, and my service to God’s work at the Kleefeld Christian Community. (Eph 6:18; Phil 2:3-4; 1 Cor 16:1-2; 2 Cor 9:6-11)

Lord, make our love increase and overflow, for each other and for everyone else. (1 Thess 3:12)