Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Church Membership Resolution Adopted

Tonight the Royal Palm Baptist Association of Southwest Florida adopted a resolution on church membership tonight at our annual meeting. This follows on the heels of a similar resolution adopted by the Frisco Baptist Association in Southeast Oklahoma last week. Wes Kenney chaired the committee that introduced that resolution and reports on in over at SBC Today.

So, I guess the headline could read, "Association after Association adopts resolutions on church membership issues." Actually, submitting this kind of resolution to local associations is a great idea, first suggested here by Tom Bryant a few months ago. If your association's annual meeting is coming up, consider offering a resolution like the one unanimously adopted by my association tonight.

This resolution is adapted from the one offered in San Antonio last summer to the Resolutions Committee of the SBC. As I have repeatedly stated, God willing, I will offer it again next year in Indianapolis.

Resolution on Church Membership
Adopted by the Royal Palm Baptist Association October 16, 2007

Whereas the Baptist Faith and Message states that the Scriptures are "the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried" (Article 1); and

Whereas life in a local church should be characterized by loving discipline as the Bible teaches in passages like Matthew 18:15-18, 1 Corinthians 5 and Titus 3:10-11; and

Whereas the ideal of a regenerate church membership has long been and remains a cherished Baptist principle as described in Article VI of the Baptist Faith and Message; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED that the messengers of the Royal Palm Baptist Association meeting in Ft. Myers, Florida, October 16, 2007, urge our churches to maintain responsible church membership, and be it further

RESOLVED that we urge the churches of the Royal Palm Baptist Association to obey Jesus Christ in the practice of lovingly correcting wayward church members (Matthew 18:15-18), and be it further

RESOLVED that we plead with pastors and church leaders to lead their churches to study and implement our Lord’s teachings on this essential church practice, and be it further

RESOLVED that we encourage state denominational servants to support and encourage churches that seek to recover and implement our Savior’s teachings on church discipline, especially when such efforts result in the reduction in the number of members that are reported in those churches, and be it finally

RESOLVED that we commit to pray for our churches as they seek to honor the Lord Jesus Christ through heeding His words on these matters.

13 comments:

Shane Waters said...

Can we submit it at the FL Baptist Convention in Nov? Are there going to be any "Founders" events or meetings around the FBC?

Tony McLennan said...

Do you have any pratical advice on how a church should begin to correct wayward church members if it has been neglected for some time?

GeneMBridges said...

This is how Baptist polity is supposed to work! We work from the church to the association and then up the ladder from there. Today RPA, tomorrow the FLBC! Just kidding, but that would be nice.

This is something that everybody should get behind. I hope there is nobody out there who thinks that because it started from a bunch of Calvinists it shouldn't be heard. What am I saying, we all know you're really Presbyterian, this is just the first step.

Seriously, though, isn't it funny how this doesn't "infringe on local church autonomy?" Of course, this is where the rubber meets the road. The churches now need to (a) work with each other by holding each other accountable and (b) start making sure that (i) there are no repeat members, eg. members who are being counted in 2 or more churches for whatever reason (eg. letters not being exchanged in a timely fashion and member rosters being maintained) and (ii) making sure that if people are visiting churches to change memberships that they don't slip through the cracks.

GUNNY said...

That's good bull, especially the unanimity.

We just had our association's annual meeting Sunday night and our young church was officially received as part of the association.

This might be a good thing to try to get some some traction for next year, however.

I think I have some other pastors in the association who would be on board as well.

We'll try to spread the fire in the Lone Star State.

Tom Bryant said...

Wow, I feel honored, Brother Tom! I am thankful that the RPA made that big step.

I was wondering the same thing as Shane Waters did about the FBC convention.

As a church we have finished the 4 year long process of trying to be honest in our reporting of real membership. I must be honest, when I looked and saw the differences, I thought "People are going to think we have had a huge split"

To try to answer Tony Mclennan, when I first got here my first steps was to make certain of those who were coming for membership in those first years. Then as I gained some credibility in the bank, I was able to take some names off because people had moved. It was a long process, but by the grace of God, we got there.

Btw, Gene, I am not a Calvinist but just believe this is biblical like you do.

BoogDoc7 said...

The process can simply be started by just contacting everyone on the roll and asking if they still want to be considered members of the church. 15-20 years ago, the church I grew up at did something like this and managed to clean up many of the rolls and really find out who was going there. It doesn't have to be a major confrontational process - just ask people as to why they aren't attending and go from there.

Matthew McCraw said...

I was hopping you would right about this. I was glad to see it pass last night. Hopefully it will pass on the state and national level also.

Wyman Richardson said...

Tom,

That's tremendous...and encouraging!

Bill said...

Tom

Too bad that it passed! We here in Indiana are much more concerned about getting false conversions, so that we can have Trustee Membership at Southern Seminary--we are next door you know!

Anyways, on a much more serious note, may God forgive us for neglecting this most important issue in the various levels of the SBC.

Sorry for the sarcasm--it truly is great news. Maybe there is hope afterall!

Grace to ALL,

Bill
PS 65:8

lordodamanor said...

I see that Paige Patterson is starting to sound the warning. So, the ripples have rocked the boat. I am not sure that the SBC will want to be known as a denomination of 5 mil as opposed to 16 mil, but who knows. This might spark a renewed interest in other disciplines, as Patterson intimated was one of the necessary processes by which regenerate membership can be secured. Who knows, this might even spark revival. And, who would have guessed that doing what the Scripture commands might be God's means of revitalizing his Chruch!

David B. Hewitt said...

My brother Dr. Tom:

I am very glad to see this passed in Florida. Like Bill, I hope it spreads to areas of Indiana! :)

SDG,
dbh

volfan007 said...

tom,

i know that you and i have not seen eye to eye on many things in the past, but i agree with you on this resolution. i will vote for it in indy. in fact, if it's alright with you, i will copy this resolution and give it to the resolutions committee of my association for next year.

david worley

Tom said...

David:

Thanks, brother. By all means, copy this or adapt it and use it however you wish as your own. I am all for anything that we can do to make this a front-burner issue for Southern Baptists.

Blessings,
tom