As many of you already know, we strongly discourage already-Christians from joining our church. We even put a statement in the bulletin, encouraging already Christians to serve other churches. However, turning away people who want to become a member is a loss for the church. We can only do that when we believe there is something more important than a bigger budget or attendance. The reason why we have this policy is two-fold.
First, we want to focus on reaching out to unchurched people (whom we call “VIP” because we believe they are very important people to God). The policy communicates our desire to fulfill Jesus’ great commission of making disciples of all nations. If we do not focus our eyes on VIPs and allow other Christians to join, naturally, we lose the motivation to evangelize as Jesus has commanded us. Why evangelize when people are coming on their own from other churches?
Secondly, already-Christians have a difficult time adjusting to house church because they already have a strong belief about how ideal church life should look like. Many assume attending church on Sunday is sufficient because they are used to deciding the level of commitment on their own. As a result, they often find it burdensome to attend house church every week. It creates unnecessary tension in the house church. But it is not a big problem for those who started their church life in house church because they embrace this as normal Christian life. So inviting other VIP, serving and sharing lives come naturally for them.
However, we also acknowledge that there are Christians who have a genuine desire to see the New Testament church restored through house church ministry. So we make an exception for Christians who communicate their desire to join our mission. Upon meeting with our membership team leader, if they promise to faithfully serve in house church and complete the membership commitment form, we allow them to register as a member. However, they need to fulfill the following conditions: Attend NFC and GPS immediately, and complete Living Life within a year, while faithfully attending House Church.
I understand some people might still disagree with why we need to have this policy. But to be clear, we are not trying to be exclusive nor arrogant. We want to create a culture that is inclusive to the unchurched people for whom Jesus built his church. As one leader said, “criticism is the price for leadership.” Even through potential criticism, we want to lead our church in the direction of faithfully fulfilling the mission that Jesus has entrusted to his church.