Old First is trying to develop, even change in order to serve more people. We believe that it’s an important sign of our own faithfulness, but also a larger witness we can make to the wider church. If a church is sufficiently committed to serving more people — to the point where it is willing to change in order to do so– than even in our increasingly complex and not so religious society, a congregation can swim against the tide of membership decline.
That’s one of the lessons we took from our three years of covenant ministry: it’s faithful to want to engage more people in the life of this community, but it’s unrealistic unless we are willing to make some changes in order to do so. We don’t just expect to find a whole bunch of people like us who want to join our church. We understand that we need to stretch in order to be visible, accessible, welcoming and receiving of new people. And their arrival and joining our community inevitably changes us.
Membership is just one way that people become part of our community. And we try not to treat those who are not members in any lesser way. But we believe membership is a helpful step in one’s movement into this community: it asks us to make a personal commitment to a helpful but imperfect congregation… to add whatever it is that we have to offer for the strengthening of this church, its people and mission to the wider world. In this sense, membership is one of the ways we give ourselves in service.
There will be a new members class after worship on Nov. 17. Our new members class tries to introduce its participants to a few more people from our church as well as some of the commitments we share and the differences, even contradictions, we live with. In this sense, it’s a class organized around questions. It doesn’t really promise to deliver the correct answers. Rather it helps us recognize how questions can be of God, signposts for our journeys. We hope if you want to know more about Old First, you will join us.
People who wish to join, will be accepted into membership at communion on December 1.