As I mentioned a few days ago, I sent a resignation letter to the church with which I held a then-nominal membership. I joined honestly enough, but it became clear to me that they were dead in spirit and program (if not fact) and had no will to change.
I quit to turn my attention to the 2U church start, but I could have stayed on the books forever, if I had so chosen. Or at least until the next membership purge, but we know how often those happen, especially in dysfunctional churches.
So let me question the passive lifetime membership, so often a feature in churches.
- Does it make sense, if there’s no claim (as low-church people don’t claim) that church membership bestows a particular spiritual estate?
- Does make sense to put the burden on the church toÂ expelÂ a nominal member, even if that person has long gone?
- Does it make sense to continue membershipÂ indefinitelyÂ in churches (as seen in the low churches) where stated muual support is a basis for the church existing?
I know you’re wise enough to see leading questions, but I’d love to hear thoughts on either side of this question. I have to think this was a live question as churches moved from a pew rent to donation basis, though I’ve never come across a debate. Perhaps society was not so mobile (or church boards were steelier) that the solution was obvious.
But the idea of a renewable church membership — however logical — still seems peculiar. Thoughts? Examples?