A New Pathway to Membership

            I think one of the very first programs I implemented when I became the senior pastor of Westwood Church in August of 1997 was called Membership Matters.  It was always a pathway to official membership at Westwood Church but it started as a 6 week class (Sunday nights I believe).  Then it became a 3 week adventure and now it has been a 2 week course for many, many years.  We’ve even experimented with a one-day retreat.  What we want to accomplish is to give people who are interested in membership at Westwood all the information they need to sense God’s call in their lives and make a good choice to join our church.  We also want those new member candidates to get to know each other so that they have some connections.  Lastly we want to get to know folks who might become a part of our church membership.

            Lately I’ve been asking myself and others the questions about whether or not a “class” is the best way to accomplish those goals of having people get to know Westwood and we get to know them on the way to membership.  The class structure seems to be less and less effective as the years go on.  After some good conversations with staff and elders we have decided to give a year –long trial to a different pathway to membership, a more relational and less lecture driven way to communicating and learning.  So – for 2019 – becoming a member at Westwood will look like this:

  • Every other month a membership invitation will go out via email to prospective candidates.
  • They will be invited to take a look at our new “Membership Portal” on our website.  On that page is information folks will want and need when considering whether or not to join our church.  There is also a Membership Application.
  • When someone fills out a Membership Application it will be routed to Pastor Quinn or myself and one of us and one of our elders will meet with the person or couple or family.  There we will talk a bit about Westwood Church, hear a bit of their story, and answer any questions they may have.
  • If the pastor and elder who meet with the prospective member(s) feels good about their application it will be given to the Teaching Elders for approval.
  • If they approve, those folks will join our church on a selected Sunday (Membership Sundays will be the last Sunday of every month.

We feel this approach has advantages in that it is much more relational; we get to tailor our discussion to the needs and questions of individuals or families; we as pastors and elders get to connect the prospective members more fully.  It also means that we can take members into our congregation at any time, not just twice a year. 

Will this be better?  Who knows without trying?  But I’m excited about this approach as we continue to seek ways of growing but retaining our “personal touch.” 

Let me know what you think!

Pastor Scott