Friday, October 31, 2008

SBC VP Bill Henard on active church membership

Bill Henard is the pastor of Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. He was elected First Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention in June of this year. Recently he preached a message entitled, "Getting our Faith and Church to Connect: Expectation," based on Acts 2:41-47.

Pastor Henard addresses the problem of inactive members in this message. He proposes contacting the 2500 inactive members of Porter Memorial and addresses the problem of having only 1000 of its 5000 members showing up on Sunday. He starts getting specific in his application around the 23:15 mark.

While much more biblical insight could be shed on this subject than is possible in one sermon, and the problem is much more serious than perhaps was suggested, I am very grateful that Pastor Henard addressed this issue in a straightforward manner. He "wants membership to mean something." Amen. He has given the church something important to consider and think about by admitting the reality behind the statistics and calling for some practical, corrective steps (such as requiring a new members class for membership).

This is the kind of honesty and integrity that needs to become widespread throughout the SBC. Until honestly admits what is true of its membership, it will not be in any position to start addressing any problems that exist in the way that membership is regarded. He rightly points out that our refusal to address the "inactive" membership problem suggests that we really don't care about people.

Pray for Pastor Henard and Porter Memorial Baptist Church. May the Lord continue to lead them forward in reclaiming meaningful membership, and may their example inspire courage and conviction in other pastors and churches to do the same.


Stan McCullars said...

Very encouraging news.

MarieP said...

Yes! Extremely encouraging! Praying for him and his church in this effort...

Reagan and Kara Marsh said...

I studied evangelism under Dr. Henard at SBTS, and he's "the real deal" -- a scholar who has a pastor-evangelist's heart and who loves the church. Thanks for posting this -- it's helpful to have his thoughts on this very important subject (particularly since my church faces the same situation).

Keep up the good work, Tom, and know that we're praying for you.

Reagan Marsh, Center Hill BC, Tyner NC.

dmwh said...

When you have members placed on an inactive membership role who have been members all of their live just because they were trying to stand up for what they believed in and worked so hard to protect is not the christian way. A few young members took over with the pastors approval. One man even stated God would kill 7 people in our church. Our elderly people were yelled at and mentally abused because of this. As a result our church split. It became impossible for families who had been there all of their lives, had parents and grandparents attend there and were original founders we forced to leave because of thing that were taking place. My dad was deacon for 40 years, member for approx 60 years was heartbroken. I have never seen my parents go thru what they are going thru now. We have now been placed on an inactive membership role with all rights to vote removed so cemetery funds are available to them. The comment was made that it was sad when the dead was worth more than the livng. This is our family not theirs. The pastor is playing the inocent one in this. He has others do the dirty work. I just wish I didn't have to watch my parents and other members go thru any of this. It is very sad. I am a born again christian of southern missionary baptist. Pastors who are ordained should have to answer to the association when such instances occur.