This SUnday's sermon title is Membership has it Privileges (and Responsibilities). I was really proud of the title, (which was largely "borrowed" from the old American Express ads) and was planning a wonderful sermon on the difference between being an adherent and a "full member".
THe problem? I am not exactly sure what the difference is. I mean other than the right to vote on anything coming before a congregational meeting (adherents can only vote on so-called "temporal" matters) and the ability to be on one of the church courts (Board, Presbytery, Conference, General Council) what privilieges do members have? ANd what responsibilities do they have that are not shared with active adherents (apart from the aforementioned church court membership)?
A sermon on the differnece between member and adherent seems a little dry. How do we excite people about making the jump from one to another? On a different side, how do we encourage our Boards (or equivalent) to be reviewing the roll and looking at what members are no longer in good standing? This looking into denominational polity is tricky--I keep coming up with more stuff that neeeds reviewing by our Board.