Generally speaking, churches can fall into two categories: high commitment and low commitment churches.
Low commitment churches tend to have one expectation: you show up when you can, when you want.pastor,
High commitment churches vary in their expectations, but it often includes giving, serving, participating in a small group, etc.
Perhaps counter-intuitively, there is a lot of research that suggests high-commitment churches grow much faster than low-commitment churches. Quite intuitively, research also shows that high-commitment churches are healthier, more involved with their community and demonstrate a stronger commitment to missions and outreach.
As a pastor, I found these things to be true.
The interesting question is “what are your expectations?” when it comes to high commitment churches. Is it just showing up at lots of stuff, or is it actually about spiirtual growth and maturity? Are we encouraging busyness or discipleship? Exhaustion or sanctification?
The church I am a part of is a high-commitment church. One of the core values of the church is a serious commitment to spiritual practices. I really like that. This sense of high commitment is reflected in the Membership Covenant, that covers seven commitments:
- Regular personal prayer and bible reading.
- Regular Sunday attendance for corporate worship.
- Participation in a Small Group for fellowship, prayer, bible study and accountability.
- Using your gifts/SHAPE to serve within the church.
- Serving outside the church.
- Giving financially to the church.
- Following Biblical conflict resolution principles.
Even as a fairly mature believer, I am excited about making those basic commitments — and following through on them. And I am excited to be part of a community that challenges me and those around me to more fully pursue spiritual practices like these. I think it will produce a really healthy church as we grow, and creates an atmosphere of growth and discipleship.
Some questions for you:
- Do you attend a high commitment or low commitment church?
- What does your church expect of its members? attenders?
- What would you add to the seven above?