Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Baptists Who Don't Believe in Regenerate Church Membership?

Today at the SBC annual meeting in Greensboro, Tom Ascol of Founders Ministries attempted to bring to the floor a resolution on integrity in reporting church membership statistice. The truth is, this resolution is about far more than statistical reporting. It also has a great deal to do with how churches ought to view members who don't attend and have no intention of doing so. In other words, it's about the gospel.

Ascol had to work through a parliamentary procedure that required a supermajority because the resolutions committee chose not to present this resolution to the convention. Other resolutions about U.S. Constitutional amendments, Darfur, and alcohol were more important than the witness churches give that uninterested members are believers in good standing and fellowship with the church.

The motion to bring the resolution before the convention failed to achieve the supermajority required, and it died. Stunningly, the chairman of the resolutions committee spoke against Ascol's resolution, saying that churches that remove non-attending members from church rolls would be "throwing away a prospect list" for evangelism.

You can read more on this story in Ascol's summary and in the comments to his earlier post on the convention.

Ironically, the next item on the agenda after Ascol's proposal was Al Mohler's report on SBTS, in which he said a number of right and true and helpful things. He did say one thing that is apparently not true: "Southern Baptists are the people who believe in regenerate church membership."

You can watch the video of this morning's session in the archives here.

So here's a question: What does your church do with members who never attend?


Don said...

Hi Ben

After three months unexcused absence, they are moved to the inactive roll with no voting privileges. After six months, they are dropped from the roll altogether. Our bylaws don't require it, but we try to give written notification of each stage with a call for repentance along the way, as well as personal visits, etc.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Sojourner said...

Here's the scenario on how people currently get off our roll:

"Hey pastor, our rolls are bloated, we should discipline some folks."

"Well," says the pastor, "we would, but we might hurt our evangelistic efforts."

"Okay," says concerned layman, "but we need to take this guy off at least. He's dead."

Pastor grimaces, "Well...are you sure he's dead?"

Okay, so maybe it isn't that bad, but it's close.

Ryan Martin said...

The best part is the music that follows Mohler.

During the entire convention, the poor SBC had this person in the band who was really really really really really bad on some woodwind instrument. It is painful to listen to.