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Church Members or Customers? A Resource for Pastors

Church Members or Customers? A Resource for Pastors

MAY 13, 2013

/ Articles / Church Members or Customers? A Resource for Pastors

Ah, the rock and roll days of early church planting! When people had heard that a new church was opening up on our side of town and they were giving us a try.

New people were showing up all the time to our home Bible study; I was networking all week, every week, with people who might come to our church; when we did start worship the curious and interested were there every week. In fact, we had new visitors every Sunday for the 25 years I served our church, such is the dynamic area we’re in. Pastors have to be good at meeting new people! Anyway, people were shopping for a new church home, or trying to decide if we were good enough to leave the church they were already in.

People were shopping and I, the church planter, was selling. I’d find out about the potential members and sell them the vision of what kind of church we were in the process of building by God’s grace (and my dogged determination).

Usually when people bought in to us, they bought in.

One of my favorite true stories is the man who I met after one church service who had been at our church for a couple of weeks with his young family. We hadn’t talked before and this was our very first encounter. So he’s standing there with his one and half year old son in his arms. Finally I notice that the little guy has a mark on his cheek and it looks fresh.

“Wow, what happened to your son?”

“A child in your nursery bit him.”

“Oh man, I wonder who it was?”

Big smile: “It was your son.”

Believe it or not, in the providence of God we became fast friends and his family joined our church.

When I say joined, I mean joined. Membership. Service. Leadership. Giving.

They were buying and I was selling, but membership was the goal. Church was a place to give and serve.

But that was 25 years ago and a whole lot is different on this planet including a Christian’s view of membership. Is it too much to state that Christians need to be taught how to be good church members? That consumerism has gone too far in the church?

Here’s a resource for you… Thom S. Rainer has done it again… the guy is a phenomenal church observer, consultant and well, equipper. His book is:

I Am A Church Member, Discovering The Attitude That Makes The Difference

(B & H Publishing, 79 pages)

Here are the chapters:

Chapter 1 I Will Be a Functioning Church Member

Chapter 2 I Will Be A Unifying Church Member

Chapter 3 I Will Not Let My Church Be about My Preferences and Desires

Chapter 4 I Will Pray for My Church Leaders

Chapter 5 I Will Treasure Church Membership as a Gift

Look, everyone who is anyone recommends this little book. For some unknown reason I was not asked to comment in print on the benefits of this book. You’ll have to take it by faith that it’s good. You all are so sharp you can figure out a dozen ways to use it with your leadership and members… and those who are shopping.

I wanted you to know about it…

We need all the help we can get!

Strength and Courage!


Pete Alwinson

Pete Alwinson

Pete Alwinson is Executive Director of FORGE: City-Wide Ministry to Men with Man in the Mirror.

Pete Alwinson's Full Bio
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