Partnership Rather Than Membership

So, one of the things you'll begin to hear a lot around Turning Point is this phrase;  'it's about partnership rather than membership'.  

In our 'Next Steps 1.0' gathering we talk about what it means to be a partner with the local church rather than a member.  What's the difference?  We believe a lot!

Membership usually focuses on my rights.   What I want.  What I need.  What do I get if I do this?   

So, we pay membership fees to belong to exclusive clubs or have premier rights.  We carry a card that says we belong to this place or this group of people.  All you have to do is pull out the card and 'whala', your needs are met because you are a member.   Now, I don't have any problem, for the record, with being a card carrying member to whatever!  I have a few of them in my wallet that make life easier.  But, here's the rub. Should churches be run that way?  Is that why we have membership?  

Here's another image especially for those of us who live in SW Florida.  When I think of a level of membership I think of an HOA.  Some of you just had your blood pressure go up a few ticks.  But, you know what I'm talking about.  You pay money each year to your HOA so your HOA advocates for you.  Most of the time they do!  Clean and safe neighborhoods.  Nice pools and manicured lawns.  Then we take all of those covenants, rights, rules and legalese and we put them into a 32-page document that nobody reads. Unless that is, my rights are infringed upon.  'It says right here on page 27, column 2 and paragraph 3 that I.....blah, blah, blah'.    Membership!?

Now again, I don't have problems with an HOA at all.  They do provide good to a community.  However, many times it ends up being more about 'me' than 'we'.  Most of us have seen the arguments, the demands, and the near fights over whose fence is the wrong height or what animal is allowed on your block.  'Why can't I do that?  What about my rights?'  Membership!?

So, here's my question.  Is that really then how the church should be led?  Is that what Jesus gave his life for?  Is that how we make a difference in this world?  By clinging to our membership?  By demanding our rights?  In fact, if you follow Jesus, what rights do we have? Here's what scripture says:  

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
— John 1:12

Right to be a child of God!  That's amazing.  That's forgiveness.  That's life.  That's eternity with Christ. Awesome!!! 

But that right in being a child of God is not only filled with personal blessings, but many, many, more things about others.  Things like sacrifice!  Community!  Dying daily!  Letting go!  Trusting God with little!   Thinking of others better than myself!  You don't believe me, then start with Philippians 2 and Luke 9:23.  Wow!  In fact, more of belonging to Jesus is less about my rights and more about others.  Community!  Connectedness.  Partnership.  

What if the church was more about being partners together in accomplishing the mission of Jesus rather than my membership?

We will get into that!  We've just begun. 

Steve GillComment