From year 2017 onward, all “youth ministry” serving opportunities (youth retreat staff, youth staff, youth shepherds) will be limited to baptized “members”, who have completed membership class. I’ve already communicated multiple times through pastor blog, encouraging adults (18+) to come to membership class, so this is not a sudden change but rather a natural transition. There are a few reasons for this change.
First, members are those who understand why our church exists. Serving without understanding the mission of an organization is like working in a coffee shop without knowing what it is selling. Membership class helps you to get a clear understanding why our church exists, our mission and strategies, giving you clarity and passion to engage better in our ministries.
Secondly, members are those who have committed to this church. Every organization depends on people who are committed to its mission. Jesus loved crowds but he did not do his ministry with them. He gave the most important ministries to his committed followers who understood his mission. Serving youth students in any capacity is a huge responsibility. We are investing in the most critical stage of our students. To influence our youth students in a positive and godly way, we need staff who are not just older but have demonstrated heart to serve and made an actual commitment to this church. It would not be wise to ask visitors to serve in such an important ministry. (We consider all adults who have not finished membership class as visitors, in order to give them time to make their own choices)
Non-members can still participate in all other team ministries just as before. The ultimate reason for putting this new standard in place is to make sure that we continue to view God’s ministry as a “privilege”, not a “duty”. We don’t have to serve: We “get to” serve. Imagine Taylor Swift asking you to sing with her on the stage. You wouldn’t say “Do I have to?”. You would probably say, “wow, I can’t believe I get to sing with her!”. Likewise, what a privilege it is to do ministry together with God who created this universe!
All those who have graduated high school will automatically become “attendee” until they complete membership class. Once again, the main purpose is to give them a choice to choose their home church since they never got to make their own choice regarding church selection. Choice always empowers commitment and brings out passion. I hope everyone will discover the joy that comes with membership.