Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Judical Council rulings

There was a lot of hubbub surrounding the United Methodist Judicial Council decisions 1031 and 1032. That happened back in the Fall of 2005.

The Bishop and several members of the Virginia Conference where the questions originated asked for the decisions to be reviewed by the Judicial Council at this viewing of their meeting.

The responses are decisions 1040 and 1041.

The challenges are about who "holds the keys" for membership in the local church.

While I agree that the stated "facts" of the case seem to show error on behalf of the pastor in choosing who was ready for membership...I would welcome most anyone who wants to come into the church, knowing the church is a place of fallible people, who are all trying to find their way to perfection and none of us have it right yet.

I guess the question comes to me as this...a practical one, rather than theological or such.

If the pastor is not the sole person responsible for taking persons in for membership, then how does membership in a local church take place?

How should membership be managed in the local church? (That is my question to any of my readers who would choose to answer)


At May 04, 2006, Blogger Matt Reed said...

I've wondered about this issue as well, and have had a love/hate relationship with this aspect of pastoral authority. It has made me begin to wonder if we should draw a bigger distinction between church membership and baptism.

I think because the process has been streamlined in the order of worship, people tend to associate too closely joining a church and "being saved."

Yes, any person should be baptized and/or encouraged to make a profession of faith when they have experienced justification, and yes part of being a Christian is being in community with other Christians. But are we too quick to bring someone into the membership without fully training and mentoring them?

Just some thoughts. By the way, I'll be in your area in Ontario, July 9-15 for a Stephen Ministry training. You'll have to recommend some good places to eat, see, and do.



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