This Sunday at 11:15am we are offering our next Partnership Class. I thought it would be beneficial to explain what Partnership at NorthStar Church is, and why we offer this class.
The Partnership Class is relatively new to NorthStar. For years the term we used was “New members” class. Membership at a local church isn’t a new concept as it’s been a part of local church dynamics for some time. Matt Chandler gives some practical and theological grounds for membership at a local church in this essay HERE. So why change from membership to partnership? Is it just semantics? Is it a theological shift in the church? Let me explain the thought process, which we also cover briefly during the Partnership Class.
The shift in name and content from New Members to Partnership was birthed out of a desire to help us carry out the mission of leading people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus more effectively. This includes better communicating our mission and values at NorthStar to new people wanting to connect with us through membership. In our culture and times we found that the term membership entails and signifies ideas that aren’t in keeping with what we see as God’s design for the New Testament church. This doesn’t mean we look down on church that still use the traditional terminology of membership, but that we felt the need to sharpen our focus in this area. For example, in most cases like a country club or a special interest group ‘membership’ is designed for people to gain rights and privileges. However, in the scripture the picture of church membership isn’t about rights and privileges, but rather responsibilities. Partnership is a better descriptive for someone looking to embrace responsibilities. Membership in a fan club for example entails simply being a fan. Partnership better describes someone who is on the team. Membership in an organization typically brings benefits like dividends or perks. Of course there are great benefits to being a member of a healthy local church, but the primary motivation shouldn’t be to get the benefits. Partnership indicates sharing in the costs.
The mission of NorthStar Church is to bring Glory to God by leading people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. In short we aim to make disciples to the glory of God. WE is the operative term. It is the body of Christ. A group of believers laying aside personal preferences, rights and privileges to join together – to partner – in a common purpose for the sake of the kingdom. If you feel like God is leading you to partner with us, join me this Sunday as we unpack what Partnership at NorthStar Church involves. Maybe you just want an inside look into who we are as a church? No problem as there is no pressure to join! Register for this weekend’s class here.