The Difference Between Movement and Church (Membership)

In order to be a full member in the Free Methodist Church, several requirements must be met:

STEP 1: Awakening to God, a desire to seek God;

STEP 2: Assent to participate in the maturing opportunities offered by the church, such as classes, Bible studies and small groups;

STEP 3: Evidence of genuine conversion;

STEP 4: Receiving the sacrament of baptism following instruction in the essential doctrines and practices of the faith (or public assent if baptized prior);

STEP 5: Completing the approved course of instruction for prospective members, which clearly teaches the history, theological distinctives and mission of the Free Methodist Church;

STEP 6: Acceptance of the Articles of Religion, the Covenant, the Goal of the Christian Journey (Book of Discipline, 3010, 5);

STEP 7: Interview by the pastor and/or membership care committee to verify the person’s conversion, baptism and willingness to commit to a holy Christian life;

STEP 8: Approval of each candidate by the local board of administration upon recommendation of the pastor and/or membership care committee; and

STEP 9: Affirmative answers to the questions for membership before a public meeting of the church.

(Pastor and Church Leaders Manual)

In order to be a member in the Methodist movement when it first began in the 18th century in England one requirement must be met: “a desire to flee the wrath to come.”open-air-preaching

Quite a difference, isn’t it?  And this is one of the basic differences between movements and churches.  Movements are mission-minded, do not have much infrastructure, and focus most on the people who are not yet a part of them.  Churches have historical precedent, physical and personnel infrastructure, and have a dual purpose of continuing what they have and reaching out to those they don’t have.

It is not fair to churches today to try and adopt a “movement mindset” because there is too much baggage churches have that movements do not have.  That being said, if churches could recapture a bit of the movement zeal, amazing things could happen.  If churches, with their infrastructure in place and resources at hand, could reach out with reckless abandon and offer hope to all those who, on whatever level in their lives, have a desire to flee the wrath to come, imagine what the results could be.

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