New Member Class

When I was growing up, our church had a full two year program called "Confirmation" where the 7th and 8th grade kids in the church would join the church. (where we would "CONFIRM" our faith). For at least an hour, every single week during the school year - we would meet, go through a curriculum, memorize books of the bible, and then at the end - we got up in front of the congregation and answered the 7 questions of membership. We had retreats, and homework - played games and had hours and hours of opportunities to ask questions and learn. Then when I became a Pastor, I looked around and asked, "Wait, how do we welcome adults into our church's membership?" And the collective answer from most of my Pastor friends and mentors was a big ol' collective *shrug* Most church's seemed to have a really simple class where the new folks would sit down for maybe a half hour to "get to know" the Pastor. And that's it! This system is particularly hilarious and painful when you think about the fact that most of my colleagues are in a system where the Pastor moves every couple of years! A lot of this centers around a recent movement to lower Membership standards in an effort to get more folks in the door. "if we ask too much, nobody will want to join our church," they say. Unfortunately, lowering the standards usually has very little affect on increasing traffic in membership classes. Instead, I have found that by increasing the standards - you make membership more meaningful and people place a higher value on their involvement in the church. Membership should have nothing to do with "getting to know" the Pastor! It's about the church - both historically and locally! It's about expressing our faith through public affirmation and commitment! At bare minimum, it should be about the 6 membership vows that we make. So I devised my very own Membership Curriculum - which is way extra compared to most churches. I had several colleagues laugh at me, and one who raised his eyebrows and said, "Wow, uh - that's a lot." However, since I started implementing it at the beginning of my ministry - I have received nothing but high praise. People LOVE having a chance to learn about our history, what we believe, and MOST importantly - a chance to ask questions. I try to run the class at LEAST once a year, twice if possible (once in the spring, and once in the fall). During the year, I keep a list of visitors who have come more than four times in 6 months. Then when a membership class is coming up - I advertise in the service, and then send out personalized invitations for all of the people I think might be interested. You can find my entire membership class below - I recommend you adapt it to your particular context. By the end of this class - the people considering joining your church will have a GREAT handle on the vows they are taking. The course I created takes 8 weeks, with 1 hour sessions. If possible - I recommend scheduling the class ON a Sunday - to get folks in the habit of attending church 8 weeks in a row. Session 1 - History: Yours and Ours Session 2 - The Bible Session 3 - Sin. Temptation. Personal Lives. Session 4 - Salvation Session 5 - Wesleyan Quadrilateral Session 6 - A Part Of the Church

Session 7 - PPGSW and the Ministry Process Finally - here are the relevant links, I hope you find them useful.

Documents for the Teacher

Manuscript of the Class:

[Leaders Copy] Adult Membership Classes Lesson Plan - updated 2021
.docx
Download DOCX • 34KB

Outline of the Class:

[printed breakdown] Adult Membership Classes Lesson Plan - updated 2021
.docx
Download DOCX • 36KB

Sample Letter sent to possible New Members:

new member invite letter
.docx
Download DOCX • 13KB

Sample Postcard sent to possible New Members: [print on card stock - homemade postcards!]

Postcard New Member Invite
.docx
Download DOCX • 25KB

Things to Print For Each New Member

Copy of our Church's Ministry Process:

Ministry Process - Flushing
.docx
Download DOCX • 58KB

PDF of the Social Principles (for an exercise we do):

SocialPrinciples
.pdf
Download PDF • 163KB

Information Sheet for them to fill out:

New Member Information Sheet
.doc
Download DOC • 54KB

I also like to print out the "Scripture On Scripture" Hand out from the Creedo Confirmation Resource, and a hand out with the Books of the Bible listed on one side, and the Apostle's Creed on the other side. (I haven't included them, because I think they might be copyrighted)


Helpful documents for New Member Sunday:

Printable Booklet for leading New Member Sunday [print the first page separately, then the rest can be printed double-sided]

Alternate New Member booklet printable
.docx
Download DOCX • 60KB

Here's a simple set of Powerpoint slides that go with the booklet:

New Member Liturgy PP
.pptx
Download PPTX • 405KB

I also recommend some sort of certificate or notice that the person has joined the church - something tangible that you can hand to them on the day. Happy New Membering!!


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Pastor JJ

Pastor JJ is lead pastor of a small local church in the suburbs of Flint, Michigan. He also loves pizza and coffee - what more could you need to know?

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