The most important part of the membership process we have at our church is the one-on-one meeting I have with prospective members. This is the time I hear about their conversion, baptism, their grasp of the gospel, why they want to join our church, and explain to them what will be expected of them if they are to become members by walking them through our church covenant. As I know many pastors walk prospective members through a similar process, I thought I would share a few specific questions I typically ask:
1) Tell me about how you first heard the gospel, understood it, and came to follow Christ?
2) What is the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ in 60 seconds or less?
3) Why would I ask a prospective member question #2?
4) What are the reasons you feel this is where God desires for you and your family to commit?
5) In what ways would you desire to serve this church as a member, if given the opportunity?
A few extra questions for those coming from the Seminary:
- Describe your calling to the ministry and why you think you are called?
- What role should the local church play in preparing you for ministry?
- Why are you driving past 5 really good, solid, and faithful churches to come here? (This is true for those who live close to SBTS campus)
These questions really act as a basic template that naturally lead to other follow up questions. I mention them with hopes they will provoke you to consider what details about a person’s life are necessary to bring them into the church as a covenant member.
Side note: A book we require all new members to read is the book written by my dear friend, Thabiti Anyabwile, What is a Healthy Church Member? It is the best resource on the topic that I know exists.
Pastors, what other questions have you found helpful to ask prospective members as they go through your membership process?
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Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the husband of Cara and adoring father of four children, son, Samuel and daughters, Abby, Isabelle, and Claire. He has served in pastoral ministry for over fifteen years and is currently in his eighth year as Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church. He was educated at both Belmont University and Indiana University receiving his B.A. in Sociology. He also undertook some graduate work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He is also the author of Visit the sick: Ministering God’s grace in times of illness (foreword by Mark Dever) and Test, train, affirm, and send into Ministry: Recovering the local church’s responsibility to the external call (foreword by R. Albert Mohler Jr.). Both of these volumes are published by Day One in their pastoral series designed to serve pastors, church leaders, and those training for local church ministry. Brian has also published Help! He’s Struggling with Pornography and Conduct Gospel-centered Funerals (co-written with Phil Newton).
A Faith That Endures: Meditations on Hebrews 11 is Brian’s newest book, released in fall of 2011. His next book on The Pastor’s Family, co-authored with his wife, is due to be released by Zondervan in Fall 2013.
To find out more, please visit Practical Shepherding.