I am going to say something that may stir some of you, so I’ll just go ahead and say it.
Not every person who wants to be a member of your church should be.
Why do I say that? Because there is one qualification one must meet in order to be a member of a healthy Christian church – namely, you must be a Christian. Lots of churches have many other qualifications, some have absolutely none. I do honestly think it is easy to get lost in the criteria one must meet or doesn’t need to meet when introducing new members into the fold of our churches.
In our day it is easy to get tangled up into different things because when we see new folks walking through our doors we are so quick to say or think something like this: “Welcome to our church! How did you find us? Want to come to my small group? Want to join me this weekend and go on a retreat? Want to be a member, we can make you one today if you want to?! What do you think?” We think and say these things before we even let this innocent bystander respond to our first question! How foolish are we? Not everyone who desires to be a member of our churches should be one.
There ought to be a vetting process each prospective member goes through because of one reality: some of those who claim to be sheep have some sharp teeth. This means not all those who seek membership in churches want to be there for correct reasons.
First: this vetting process should exist and be purposed at determining to find out one thing, whether or not this person is a Christian. Before you call me a Pharisee note one thing – anyone, Christian or not can come to our churches but it is not pharisaical to say that one must be a Christian if you’re to be a member, bottom line, no exceptions. Testimony, testimony, testimony, tells all. Let’s hear them, and respond accordingly.
Second: though this vetting process is a must, we need to know that our leaders or elders who are putting people through these vetting sessions are not perfect and do make mistakes. Also, those people were interviewing are not going to be perfect either. There is sin on both the interviewer and interviewee sides, thus we must recognize that this vetting process will contain mistakes.
Therefore, by Gods grace let’s lead well, and protect the sheep for whom Christ shed His blood.