Church membership

On the receiving of new members witness of the others

The early church knew who was in the family and who was not sure yet. They kept numbers and had church-family goals and ministries.

We are happy to do the same.

Today we gladly receive as members of this local body of believers the following, upon their noted desire to join this team and their completion of the classes and acceptance of our goals together.

Today we welcome. (Names…..and up front)

Questions to the new members

* Do you confess again your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, believing that He died with all your sins on His back, being judged at that moment, and rose again to provide eternal hope and the gift of righteousness for you?

I do believe that.

* Will you seek to build this body of believers with your love and service and seek to live in unity with this church body and in faithful obedience to your Lord and Savior?

I will.

Question to the church

* Do you receive these friends as members of our church family, and will you

seek to serve and build each other in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Statement from the pastor

It is with joy that I represent the church saying we receive you as members of this local body. I and the staff and all of us love you and rejoice with you at this public witness.

Prayer for the new members and the church

Suggestions for staff or readiness for a lead pastor or self- improvement — all normal in many churches….

Pastoral staff

Suggestions for staff or readiness for a lead pastor or self- improvement — all normal in many churches….

Pastoral staff
…. All operate by a “master schedule.”
…. Written reports to one you report to, every two weeks (see sample). …. Attend all staff meetings, unless excused.
…. Do not handle cash from people of the church.
…. Have true discipleship group of 4-6 men meeting at least twice a month.

Scripture text that meets the heart, not discipleship books that simply fill in the blank with facts.
…. Greet on Sundays before and after services.
…. Sign the statement of faith and “staff agreement” every year.
…. Be reviewed by one report to every year.
…. Have salary reviewed every year by one report to and senior staff.
…. Senior is reviewed every year by the board of oversight. (A standard review guide.) …. Report to finance person any personal gift over $100 (or set amount).

Help with “school spirit”
…. Always participate out loud in staff prayer.
…. At meetings on time.
…. Offenses handled one on one.
…. Attend all worship services and sit toward front.
…. Appreciation and thanks to other staff.
…. One on one promise to senior when he arrives, and asking for suggestions. ….Positive demeanor at staff meetings.

The Ten Easiest Things to Miss in a Church Strategy

Not based on a Barna survey or a Gallop poll but clearly true!

1. The pastor and other leaders forget that the greatest of church strategies is love.

2.  The leaders forget who got them there in past years and staff for everyone except the seniors.

3.  Leaders forget that it is in real estate that it is,  “Location, Location, Location,” but in church it is,  “Communication, Communication, Communication.”

4.  People like to count on what time a service starts and also what time it ends.   Even if they do not tell you.

5.  A worship set that is all performance with little participation from the pews is a concert, not a worship service.

6.  The opinions of the speaker given in a sermon are much less important than the exposition/explaining/applying of the Word of the Lord as found in the Bible.

7.  Greeters and ushers who talk mostly to each other are disqualifying themselves.

8.  People hate changes and surprises,  so we should not surprise them with a change!

9.  Politics divides people and eliminates up to half the potential audience;  true doctrine from above unites and promotes love.

10. Every person who walks in the door of the church or lives in the nearby community will live forever somewhere.

“Master Schedule” for a pastor

The goal for each week, so you stay on target for goals and make the best use of time, and prioritize

If there are 21 sections to a week, three for each day, how will you use them? Consider making a schedule
and sticking with it except for tragedies and family.

Some of us like to make 35 blocks for a week, putting in an early morning breakfast time and a lunch-noon hour in each day, or at least five of them.

Here are “ingredients” that might best show in a target week, a Master Schedule:

* Personal worship of our Lord
* Physical exercise
* Date with wife
* Time with children (and each is different one-on-one that when all together
* Evenings at home

* Sermon prep time (should be at your best hours, not when tired or sleepy)
* Church services and classes on Sunday or weekend
* Wednesday services or studies or community groups
* Planning meetings (for instance, essential to meet with chair of oversight board to plan before the regular meetings)

* Breakfast or lunch or coffee with a new man at church (the new way of visitation)
* Shut-in visits
* Discipleship of group of 4-6 men (should be at minimum twice a month, and must be Bible verses that hit the heart, not just facts) — See sample.
* Counseling (good to have regular hours or people get used to just walking in)
* Service club or other local place to meet people (Some study at coffee shop once a week)
* Coffee or more individually with oversight board members twice a year

Notes:” Best to make one in August for the new “church year,” and then revise over
Christmas break….Show your wife and secretary….Show your oversight board….Refuse to feel guilt when broken, but refuse to break for selfish reasons

Easter and Sunday before–you asked about “extra” issues

** Many churches do not add an extra service and should.

** It is one Sunday when you can add a service at 6:30 or 7:00 am and call it the “Sunrise Service.”

** Extra greeters and parking lot assistants are a must.

** The pastor is often the best one to start the service with  joy and call to worship and “He is risen!”  (and the crown responds, “He is risen indeed!”)

** Shorter sermon is in order.  Certainly not longer.

** 15-20 second video to your people the week before that is joyful and rather light — one they can forward to invite a friend.

** Sing “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today!” to start the service, whether your worship leader wants to or not! 🙂

** Smile more than usual, especially if you have a beard.

** Do  not overpressure the guests.  You want them back next Sunday.

** Have a place to meet guests — pastor and wife and someone or three who get names.

** Use no big theological words in sermons.

** Announce any outreach workshops coming up — on parenting or Celebrate Recovery or the like.

** Smile.

** The pressure should be on you, not the guests.

** Have good volunteers with umbrellas if it rains.

** Be sure to explain what it means to have faith in Jesus and what He did for us on the cross and in rising.  This is more than,  “Believe in Jesus.”  Most of them would say they already do that.

** Close the service with joy, not, ‘This is your last chance….” :-).

Excellence Must Be Chosen For a Mid-sized Church to Grow

Some decisions to excel are tough to make, for they take you out of the “aw shucks” mode, and call for strong pastoral leadership. See if you are willing!

Senior Leadership

1. The pastor earns and embraces the role of senior leader of this ministry, this local church, by vision, hard smart work, and excellence.

2. The pastor makes the hard calls to improve and make excellent the work of friends on staff—either to demand a change or dismiss the person.

3. The pastor defines the board’s role as guardianship of excellence and guidance of values rather than that of management and staff functions.

4. The pastor and staff choose, at least subconsciously, to “swim hard” rather than to “float,” to excel rather than to be comfortable.

5. The speaking pastor continually improves.

6. The leader risks being a little obsessive about details of ministry, believing “the little pixels make the big picture.” Even non-chalant strong leaders worry about small excellencies.

7. The senior leader envisions and teaches the embraceable values and purposeful mission goal for the church.

8. Fewer people are involved in congregational decisions. Voting at annual membership meetings pertains to call of senior pastor, main board, budget and capital decisions, and constitution issues. This can be hard for people who remember the small “church family” meetings.

Pastoral and Church Staff

1. There is a “point person” from the paid staff for each of the ministries and potential ministries that should be in a larger church. The point person is the one who studies and envisions what can be done in that ministry area, and to whom volunteers go when they are frustrated or have a need. (Otherwise the senior pastor will be the point person for all ministries.)

2. Staff takes the time and risk to select and orient a “ministry manager,” a lead volunteer, for each specific area of ministry.

3. Staff are organized for true accountability for goals, work, and attitudes. Not all of them like this.

4. Delegation to and training of volunteers is not yawned at by the staff. It is easier to do it yourself, but not better.

5. Administrative staff and part-time coordinators are used well and held to excellence standards.

6. There are specialists for major areas of ministry such as worship, care, missions, youth, kids, and administration.

Main Board

1. They have a “job description” for the board and do not operate the same way as they did when the church was smaller and they were dealing with daily management and ministries and Sunday services.

2. They do not allow “tribal chiefs” who enjoy authority to lead the board by sheer power of personality. Instead they follow biblical principles for vision and excellence.

3. The board is not too small. Two or three elders (plus the pastor-elder) are an “aw-shucks” group rather than a board for foundations, resources, values, and visions.

4. The pastor and board chairman are “on the same page.” They agree to unite on divisive issues before they go to the board.

5. People feel they are called to the board not to “represent” a segment of the congregation but rather to serve as one mind for the best for all the church.

6. Individual board members do not “elder” as individuals as they walk the halls or talk to people. Instead they act only as one mind and make decisions only when they are all together.

7. The pastor earns the role of senior leader among leaders by vision, hard work, and excellence.


1. The pastor and worship leader worry about details, themes, segues, mood, timing, excellence, appropriateness; sensitivities to unbelievers; and proper enjoyment, worship, and challenge for believers.

2. There is a point person on staff and a volunteer ministry manager in charge of guests and assimilation, a most important ministry for a growing church.

3. Leaders give careful consideration to styles of worship music and whether to have one style, a variety, or The Blend.

4. There is excellent signage, a good welcome center, a security system for children’s area, and clean halls and rest rooms.

5. Participants are not chosen to help in worship services to give them experience or because they are veterans in the church. A standard of excellence is graciously, tactfully kept. There may be a warm family spirit, but not all the family lead or speak up front.

6. There is a strong desire to plan services and say things from the platform that do not alienate guests or unbelievers. This can be guarded without compromising the gospel. If there is anything offensive, it is the cross, not our in-house jokes or evangelical habits.

7. Services start and end at consistent times, in most of our cultures, and the attenders can also count on consistent excellence.

8. Speakers and pulpit people refrain from inside-jokes or excessive church “family” references that make guests feel like outsiders.

Groups for Community and Personal Growth

1. There is a point person on staff to study strategies for true community and care in the Sunday and home mid-sized groups of the church.

2. There is a good understanding of how excellence in community and care are achieved in both Sunday and home groups. People are urged to join one or the other.

3. There is excellent provision for the needs of senior adults, who often like their meeting and study time to be on campus on Sunday. Many rumor mills start with seniors and we want them to give a good report.

4. Sunday groups are designed not just for content (electives or straight teaching). Real community is developed.

5. Leaders recognize that a mid-sized home group (ten or more) is not true discipleship, but is true community with study and application. These are good purposes, but discipleship-accountability happens best in gender-specific groups of seven or eight or less, in groups that stay together for that specific purpose.

6. Churches use short electives (three to five weeks only) as good entry points for sanctuary people. When this elective-entry method is used, the people there are introduced to and invited to the regular Adult Bible Fellowships (community-study groups) that meet all the time. They are urged to try these as the elective closes.

7. ABFs and Home ABFs are asked to take on regular ministries as a group—in the church, or community, or in support of missionaries. Many churches that used to neglect this now see the good of groups adding ministry and a mission to their purposes.


1. There is a strong concern and strategy from the pulpit and staff and lay leadership to be strongly missional locally and around the world—with near and far both being strong emphases.

2. Leadership for local and global starts with pastoral staff, instead of being delegated to mission-minded lay leaders, as is often the case in smaller, family-type churches.

3. There is a carefully planned strategy for helping with needs of individuals or groups in the area or city.

4. There is a point person on staff responsible for local mission, and volunteer ministry managers who care for specific local ministries.

5. There is a strategic plan to become known in the area.

6. There is a strong percentage of missions offerings designated for local concerns, or at least a goal for this.

7. Leaders do not make the wide, often artificial gulf between spiritual help to people and physical medical- holistic help—without forsaking the high goal of redemption spiritually, and the establishment of churches.


1. Leaders emphasize both “wings of the airplane”—“come and see” (to the church services and special attractors), and “go and tell” (the witness of the individuals to neighbors, friends, and others). One is called “attractional” and the other “missional.” Both can be excellent.

2. There is a point person… 


1. There is a standard of excellence for all brochures and emailings that represent the church. Usually one person or department must approve. Homey ways are nice, but… This includes or starts with the website and bulletin.

2. Leaders know one announcement in a public service means little. There are multiple ways to stress what is for all the church.

3. Whatever announcements or “pushes” make the public service are done by the one who can do them best.

4. There is a person selected to keep the church in the news for good publicity, and to manage talking points and be spokesperson when there is bad news.

5. The senior pastor accepts the role that increases in importance as the church grows larger—to be the main spokesperson and vision-caster for the church. This may include short emails to the church, campaign news or promotions from up front, a brief pastor’s note in the bulletin, and other ways of communicating mood and cheerleading vision.


1. The senior pastor disciplines self to share the responsibility. Care is done through the Sunday and home groups, and others on staff or part-time care people and volunteers do a lot of the normal pastoral care. In some cases “it is not the same as it used to be,” but normally the attention to needs can be more excellent.

2. One of the people in #1 is seen as the senior care-giver rather than the lead pastor.

3. Others on staff have care responsibilities (discipleship, tragedies, crises, etc.) for the people in the areas they lead.


1. Better, cleaner, more important.

2. A lot of volunteers may be utilized, but the oversight responsibility shifts to a person on staff. 3. Every growing church longs for more lobby!

On whether or not one should even think about Jesus Christ as necessary personal Savior

An important conversation about our personal ties with God for now and for eternity


First, it’s about God. So we are accepting that He exists and is Creator of the universe. People who do not believe He exists have to start somewhere else.

Then it is about how we connect with Him, assuming He is holy, powerful, and a person (which the Bible says a lot).

And we are not holy, which goes without saying.  The Letter to Romans says it clearly: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).   Very short!


God is revealed as holy and far above sin. He cannot just embrace us. By virtue of perfect holiness, He cannot just overlook sin.

So we are challenged to face that there is a real problem in life, to believe that our spiritual problems are real. If we agree with that – a constant theme in the Bible – we will look for the way to connect with God, and begin a spiritual journey.

“All we like sheep have gone astray,” is a famous Isaiah statement (53:6).


God is holy, far above sin.  And He really loves the people He created, and He said they ran away from Him.

Because of that love, He plans the way for connection with people that would actually meet His standards for holiness.

It was all His idea.


First, God does not change His standards. He remains holy, and cannot just say, “Boys will be boys,” when noticing our sin.His way is clearly defined in the Bible.

He comes to earth in the person of the eternal second person of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.    That is Christmas, the incarnation, the Son taking on human nature also. 

Mary had a baby.


All through the Bible’s Old Testament, there are prophecies about someone to come as a victor and Messiah, “the anointed one.” As early as Genesis 3, when God stated that someday “the seed of a woman,” a baby, would somehow crush “the snake,” Satan. (A strange prophecy indeed.)

Then there are hundreds of prophecies of a deliverer in the Old Testament, including even that he would be “a child to be born,” and “a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6).

The eternal Son comes to earth and lives a perfectly sinless life as a human person.


He is crucified for other reasons.   Actually,  as prophesied in Isaiah 53, He dies as a substitute for every one of us.

His judgment-death actually counts as our death or judgment for sin. He dies for us, for our sins. Instead of us.

“For our sake, he (God) made him (Jesus) to be sin.”  He took ours on his back,  “who knew no sin,  so that in him we might become the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:21).   

That is  an extravagant statement.  It is quite the opposite of religion by itself,  where we see what we can do to get in with God.

So our judgment for sin is already accomplished, should we receive this gift of the Savior by faith. By believing. That is the generous connection – faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.


Yes.  This is, in one sense, just half the gift.  This gives us the penalty-paid-to-our-holy-God stamp.  No question.  “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

So that gets coverage or removal of our sin record in front of a holy God. Pure grace.

But how do we get a perfectly righteous standing in front of His holiness?

Enter the gift of righteousness.  You have to be perfect to go to heaven, to be with God —and perfect is a gift!


The Bible is very clear that the perfect record of righteousness of Jesus Christ is credited to the person who places his faith in Christ alone — who he is, and what he did in his life and death and resurrection.  Christ’s righteousness or perfect record is counted as ours in God’s eyes!

That is the essence of the gospel, the good news.


When we admit we need help, seeking Jesus as Savior, and place our faith in Jesus —who he is, and what he did for us then in God’s eyes —  the death and judgment of Jesus actually count for us. His punishment for sins covers us when we trust Him by faith.

What is more, His perfect life record counts as ours. “Our faith is counted as righteousness.”

This is most amazing.


It has been buried under a pile of religion and misrepresentation and rules and regulations.  It has been forgotten.  For some, it has seemed too good to be true, or maybe even too much a gift rather than something we earned.

And of course the Bible is clear,  and history verifies,  that people or even civilizations lose interest in finer and eternal things when selfishness and sin capture their hearts!


If God is Creator and Owner of the universes, and He is perfectly holy, as He says, we are in trouble without His help and forgiveness. And He is clear that He cannot connect with sin. He cannot touch it, or just shrug His shoulders at it.

Jesus Christ, the perfect God-man, is the answer for that. He is the huge theme of the Bible – that God, the Creator, takes care of our need, and makes possible our faith.

Sadly, part of being fallen out of connection with God is that we do not even seek after God. Not many people follow up their emptiness in life with a chasing after God. Most of us have not met  many people on a  God-search.

That is just the way it is.  Other interests capture our hearts.

Augustine,  a famous church father centuries ago, wrote. “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until we rest in Thee.”

That seems true.


At least be sure you know the facts. So many people never think about God.

In a Gallup poll of people on the street, 75% said they would probably go to heaven by keeping the Ten Commandments.   Now think about that! Not one of us has been able to keep the Ten Commandments – they had to make up that answer on the spot!  And yet that was their quick go-to hope.

Point is, not many of us search for God, or study the life and claims of Christ, or even the specifics of the gospel gift of forgiveness and righteousness.  Or how to be compatible with God’s holiness.

So easily we just avoid the subject, or notice hypocrisy, or try to figure out the evils and unfair twists of life and history. 

The answer is the Savior,  the only one who really got it right.