Membership Expectations

Expectations of Local Church Members


A concerned individual reminded me the other day that I needed to temper my frustration with shoddy performance at the church in light of the fact that I was dealing with “volunteers not soldiers.” I accepted that sentiment as a well meant piece of advice intended to encourage rather than rebuke. However, it prompted me to reflect on what we should expect of church members. This is also the main subject of Thomas Rainer’s book, High Expectations. I am not thrilled with his subtitle, The Remarkable Secret for Keeping People in Your Church, however, I discovered some good material.  Rainer also authored the Breakout Churches book with the “Church Readiness Survey” we recently completed.  

 My view is that we should maintain expectations of commitment and excellence for those who become members of the church. This is a matter of principle, not merely a means to retain folks. If the church is Christ’s church and if the church is the single institution God has authorized to accomplish His work, then the questions of commitment and excellence are assumed. Every member should be committed to ministering with excellence in the church.

Volunteerism does not diminish this principle.  Obviously, it does limit the amount of time, energy, and resources available.  We must always be particularly sensitive to the reality that our people are volunteer ministers rather than vocational ones.  Thus God’s people will always seek to balance the demands of work-family-leisure with serving Christ. There will always be a certain tension between these often competing priorities. Nonetheless, the need for a baseline level of expectations for church members still exists. We ought to be able to accomplish this without compromising either priority.

Here is a brief listing of several items I believe are worth implementing as expectations for our members. There may be sentiment to delete and/or add. They are in no particular order.

A professing believer


Attend a Discover FBC class

Know and substantially subscribe to the doctrinal statement of the church

Subscribe to  and abide by the church covenant

Regular financial support of the church as God has prospered

Engage in a ministry through the auspices of the church

Annually contact his/her elder and deacon

Regular attendance at the morning worship

Regular participation in a Sunday School class

Regular participation in a FLOCK

Share the gospel with others

It is also necessary to decide which of these expectations should be raised to the level of requirements for membership? I think we would all agree regarding being a professing believer, however there will undoubtedly be disagreement over the remaining items.

Finally, these expectations should be regularly communicated through various vehicles…

in written format such as the Connexion, informational brochures, and church documents

verbally from the platform

 as a primary part of the Discover FBC class

© Copyright. Joseph Flatt. 2016. All rights reserved. May be used for educational purposes without written permission but with a citation to this source