It encourages people to actually join the fellowship in their minds and in their hearts.
It avoids the old “join us for 6months before you serve”… as if going to 15+ sunday meetings is going to really help them understand what your church is on about, our help you know enough about them?
It allows people to opt-out early, rather than wasting 6-18months in your church, before they realise you believe in predestination, and they leave; that’s just wastes their time and your church’s time too.
It allows people to opt-in early. If people join you well; understanding all the things your church thinks is important, agreeing with you, and keen to share the vision you’re praying for… then, let them serve, get them involved.
It gives them an opportunity to meet the pastor/staff that just doesn’t happen easily on a Sunday; there really is so much happening on a Sunday, and if your pastoral staff are excellent, then the’ve probably at least said hi once… but a membership course allows them to have a conversation – maybe the only one they’ll get in years (depending on your church size).
It gives them enough information to start asking good questions. Most people don’t have questions about your church, because they don’t know your church, they don’t have any buckets of thinking to investigate. A course helps them see that they have questions/issues.
There’s probably many more…
If you plan to meet with someone “as soon as you’ve finished the next step”, there’s little chance you’ll meet.
Whereas, if you plan to meet with someone “in 3 weeks”, you’ll meet, and there’s more chance they’ll have finished the next step.
Arranging to meet with a volunteer regardless of deliverables is an important part of communicating to them that they are more important than the project.
If you want to improve something in your ministry, say your public meetings, or the content of your bible studies, don’t think that the only way to do it is by a massive overhaul.
Sometimes, quality has slipped over time. Or maybe it was never there. Sometimes, there hasn’t been a solid biblical foundation laid out to encourage people putting effort into it.
But sometimes, if you want to see something improve, you just need to start with one aspect. The quality of the public prayers, the quality of the kids talk, the quality of the music, the outline, etc.
Of course we’d like all those things to be great, but by working hard at improving one of these aspects, it will cause all the others to ‘lift their game’ so to speak.
We noticed this at NextStep. Our membership team improved the event, the process, the talks, until we got to the point where the booklet didn’t ‘fit’ with the quality of everything else. So we took the opportunity to make the booklet amazing. Fully colour printed, beautifully designed. Looks tops!
Guess what happened next…
All the other aspects of NextStep got put under the microscope to get them to match the quality of the booklet. All the content got re-evaluated, and there’s so many changes to make for the next one.
Do one aspect well, watch the others rise to the challenge.