It’s been awhile since we’ve had a new members’ class. Wouldn’t it be a nice “birthday present” for the church if we added to our rolls on Pentecost, Sunday, June 12?
Michael is beginning to organize a new members’ class to prepare new people to join our church on Pentecost. That involves organizing a Saturday new members’ class and helping people find sponsors in the next few weeks.
Every week at our Tuesday staff meeting, we review our visitors’ list– to make sure that we’re on top of welcoming and supporting the people who visit us at worship. This week, as we checked our guest list, we identified 28 people who we have been worshiping with us repeatedly and who we believe it makes sense to invite prayerfully to consider becoming members.
Michael will get to that in the next few days, but, If you think you might be among who we’re looking to invite, don’t wait on Michael. Instead, let him know if you are interested.
This is an open invitation. Membership is not some elite club. It is rather an outward sign that you want to be involved, participate, help, support and grow with Old First.
Understand, folks, the option of membership is tricky. As we welcome new people, we want to be a community that welcomes, encourages and supports people’s engagement and participation in this community. But we want to send a sort of two-pronged or ambiguous message: Everyone is invited into full membership, and anyone is welcome to participate pretty much as much as s/he wants, whether or not an actual, formal member.
There should be no mystery about how one becomes a member of Old First. In fact, we hope to have it happening frequently enough that no one could miss seeing how we do it, and concluding that membership here is a growing and diverse group of people volunteering to help this faith community move ahead towards all the service that God is asking of us.
Still we know that “church membership” is a loaded for some people. Maybe they are new to our faith community and feel they are still checking us out. Or they want to be with us, but still identify themselves as belonging to another community. Many people are commitment shy or at least a bit wary. Their reasons are multiple, and we want to respect them all.
In good “both/and” UCC style:
1) we encourage everyone to take on membership as a sign of their commitment to putting down roots and contributing to the strength and service of this community, and
2) we are open to people’s participation, as much as possible, on their own terms– if they want to be among us, and work and serve and grow with us, but membership is not an attractive option for them, they are welcome to sojourn with us as they think best.
Michael reminds people that membership is needed to vote at our congregational meetings and to hold certain offices. But, he also knows, how much richer Old First is for people who have not joined formally, but participate fully as members and supporters of our community.
No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey (or the membership scale!), you are appreciated and welcome to participate here!