Sunday, August 13, 2006

Active Membership

"Explosive Growth: Unleash the Creativity of Your Congregation" by Rick Warren


Napoleon once pointed to a map of China and said, "There lies a sleeping giant. If it ever wakes up, it will be unstoppable." Today the American church is a sleeping giant. Each Sunday, church pews are filled with members who are doing nothing with their faith except "keeping" it.
The designation "active" member in most churches simply means those who attend regularly and financially support the church. Not much more is expected. But God has far greater expectations for every Christian. He expects every Christian to use their gifts and talents in ministry. If we can ever awaken and unleash the massive talent, resources, creativity and energy found in the typical local church, Christianity will explode with growth at an unprecedented rate.

I believe that the greatest need in evangelical churches is the release of members for ministry. George Gallup once took a survey and discovered that only 10 percent of American church members are active in any kind of personal ministry. But he also discovered that 40 percent of all members have expressed an interest in having a ministry. They would like to be involved in ministry, but they have never been asked or they don't know how.

This group is an untapped gold mine! If we can mobilize this 40 percent and add them to the current 10 percent already serving, your church could have 50 percent of its members active in a ministry! Would you be happy if half of your church were fully-functioning lay ministers? Most pastors would think they'd died and gone to heaven if that occurred!

JAMES' COMMENTS: Although Rick Warren is rightfully pointing out the need for our members to have ministries, he equates ministry with the institution of the church. 100 % of our church members have ministries. Our members just don't know it. We confuse church programs with ministry. The two are not the same. Being a parent, a teacher, an employee or an employer are all ministries. We need to move beyond the walls of the church building.

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