It’s amazing to me how often we have people make the huge decision of becoming a member of our churches, but often we fail to really explain what that means. We make assumptions that their view of church membership will be the same as ours. When in reality, we all come from different backgrounds and different church experiences. This is why it is important that before someone becomes a member of the church, they gain a full understanding of what church membership means at that church from a biblical perspective (rather than a traditional or experiential perspective).
I have found that people who go through our membership session (it takes just over an hour), will thank me for explaining membership to them and they often say it is the first church that has ever done so for them. By raising membership expectations, we’ve actually noticed that more people rise to the expectations of membership rather than run away. People are looking for churches that have expectations. My lead pastor and I developed our membership agreement and placed scriptural references with each point.
It is important that people understand that we aren’t asking them to do anything contrary to the scriptures. In fact, we are asking them to become more what the scriptures teach us to be in our daily lives. When we review this with them, we ask people to sign one copy of it and also give them a second copy for them to take home and examine the scriptures for themselves.
I am attaching a copy of the membership agreement we use here: Membership Agreement SAMPLE