Before I start…I am asking seriously for whoever reads this to give me an honest opinion and/or reply regarding church partnership or membership.
I have been attending my church for 2 years. Two years ago this month I walked into NCR and listened to my Pastor, Bill Giovannetti, for the first time. His message knocked the wind out of me. God whispered in my ear “This is your home”. I didn’t know anybody at the church. I came back all through the holidays that year. Pastor Bill did a series called Wild at Heart. It was amazing.
I had been in Redding 3 1/2 years at that time. My father in law is a Lutheran pastor and for a long time when we first moved I chose not to go to church. I felt pressure to attend his church and I really didn’t want to or enjoy it. So I became a 2 time a year church attender, Christmas and Easter. That only worked for me for about a year and a half. I enjoy worship to much to be satisfied with just watching it on television. I also hadn’t found some of the internet services that I enjoy now then. So the search started.
Unless it is really scary or just plain odd, I won’t make a decision about a church for a bit. I will attend through a season. I will see who covers for the regular pastor when he is gone. Who does the worship on a regular basis. Which people in the congregation are happy and which aren’t. After a period of time I decide if I am staying or not. So in the 2 years that I searched this area for a church I attended 4 churches before going to NCR. One visit and it was home, within 4 weeks I was invited to join an iGroup (small group). My daughter attended the Jr. High Experience and loved it. We still attend this church. Neighborhood is our home.
I have recently started training again for a care ministry through our church. I had started the training last year but due to the unknown health issues I had to stop the training. I have also been feeling a calling in my heart to attend a partnership class. This is what they call membership. I want to be a partner in my church. I think that it is important to be part of a team. So tomorrow I am attending the partnership class and it is my intention to join my fellow church goers and become a true partner of Neighborhood.
I was talking with a friend about this on Friday. She said something that has just been stuck in my head. I really never thought of myself as naive but I guess I must be. She asked me why I was going to “join” the church. I said that I had been attending for 2 years and felt that it was time and that I was going to be later volenteering in a care ministry. That I felt it would make the care receivers more comfortable to know that I was a partner of the church. I also explained that NCR is my home I want to help support it. She then said to me…..”People attend the same church for years and never join.” Really? Why?
What does church membership/partnership mean to you?
Do you know people that have attended for years that never have joined?