In Quito Ecuador, I was recently asked: “We see many people here move from church to church regularly. Do you think this is okay, or is it a problem?” Here is my answer. This is the second and final answer I’ll share from that AMA which was translated to Spanish in real-time. Again, I thought you might be interested in seeing what it’s like to work with a translator.
We see many people here move from church to church regularly. Do you think this is okay, or is it a problem?
At our church, we believe very strongly in having church membership. So when we look out at the church we see members and visitors. What we don’t really want is people who come to the church for a long time but don’t join the church. We want people to become part of the church, to become members of the church.
And we believe that when people become members of the church, as they start the process of becoming members in the church, that we should know why they’re coming to the church. And one of the things we want to be very certain of is that they’re not running away from conflict in another church. And quite often you find that they’ve had some sort of a problem in another church and now they’re coming to this church to escape their problem. Yet we believe that God calls us to make peace with other believers that in so far as possible we have to repent and find forgiveness with other believers. So when somebody’s come into the membership of our church we go to their last church to ask. We just want to make sure they’re not running away from some problem. Because if they are the kind of people who have problems in their church and then run away then they may be the kind of people who do that in our church as well. And for the good of their own souls, we want them to resolve any conflict in their old church.
So yes, we believe it’s good to go and ask another church and make sure that they’re in good standing. And if they’re not, we’ll tell them we can’t have you be a member in our church until you’ve resolved all that conflict there. But that really only works when there’s membership in a church. Because we believe that the members of the church are the ones who get the care of the elders. Because it’s the members who have covenanted together to use their gifts to serve this church. So when you become a member of a church you’re saying, you serve me and I will serve you. You stick with me and I’ll stick with you. You sin against me and I’ll forgive you and vice versa. It’s a covenant together to remain together as a church. So we believe a healthy church really depends upon healthy church membership.