May/June 2004

So You Want to Join Our Church

by Ron Benson

I’ve been thinking, if the church were a little more selective, a little more particular, a little more discriminating about admission, then maybe the church-on-the-corner would obtain the reputation of exclusivity. And that exclusivity will have people clamoring to get in.
Adopting this growth strategy for the church just seems to make sense. First, because it works. And we all know that’s reason enough to do anything. If it means more people coming in, it must be okay.
Second, the church is supposed to express some diversity, right? The apostle Paul says, “If all were an eye, where would the sense of smell be?” Paraphrasing here: If all were white pasty folks from Des Moines, who would bring the tamales to the potluck?
Of course, in a church, race is not really as important as other considerations. “Red and yellow, black and white; they are precious in his sight” takes the punch out of race-based membership strategies. Other factors, however, could be considered.
So here’s my proposal for a point system. In order to be considered a member of the church you have to score at least 75 points. Then the Church Board will have a meeting, and—after they’ve had coffee and left-over donuts from Sunday, a perfunctory prayer, approved the minutes of the last meeting and taken a break for more coffee and donuts—they will get around to reviewing your application for membership. Using their own criteria they will grant you acceptance into membership.
It’s my thinking that people who are sifted through the filters in this process would make the church a pretty exciting place.

I think this could work. A point system such as I am recommending would not only cull out the flock, it would go a long way to communicating the values and priorities of the church. It would help people know how discriminating we are.
We would end up attracting lots of folks, giving us the chance to manufacture just the right kind of body-life for our church. High scorers will have the immense satisfaction of having the right hand of fellowship (or is it the left hand?) extended in their general direction. Thrilling.

Ron Benson scored 52.8 on the point system, allowing him to attend “last days” seminars at the church around the corner. He’s been a pastor for over 20 years and lives in Royal Oak, Michigan.

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