This weekend 14 youth will confirm their faith and become full members of Ridge UMC. This last week we also began our Spring New Member Orientation. On May 20th a group of people will make vows to officially connect themselves and their families with the church. In all our official circle of care will increase by between 25 and 35 persons within less than a months time this spring.
And I have found myself pondering what all of this means. Some of the youth who are going through confirmation (and some of their families) rarely attend worship and aren’t actively involved with ministries of the church. On the other hand there are people who have never gone through the process of formally linking themselves with the church, but are extremely devoted and active. Which has left me wondering:
1.) What does the idea of “membership” within churches as well as other organizations mean in our post-modern 2007 culture?
2.) To what do we hold membership other than churches and what do those “memberships” mean?
3.) To what degree is it realistic for churches to enforce expectations of members?