What are you a member of? What groups and organisations do you belong to?
Within the Church we sometimes talk of membership, and we sometimes talk of how some of our most committed folk are not members, and yet many of our members aren’t active in the community of faith.
The understanding of membership has certainly changed over the years. In our post-modern world… are we still ‘post-modern’ or gone somewhere beyond that… there simply isn’t the same commitment to any organisation, or institution, favoring a much more fluid approach – this is part of life’s experience in this season…
I occasionally ponder my commitment to the groups that I belong to.
I am a member of the Church of Scotland, baptised in 1964, and later made my ‘profession of faith’ – I joined the Church in 1981, as a teenager. It is a significant belonging that shapes my living – not least because in 1992 I was ordained a minister in the Kirk. I am deeply committed to the Church and cannot imagine life without that sense of belonging
I am also a member of the local Rotary Club – and therefore a member of Rotary International. I regularly share in the weekly Rotary lunch meeting – although attendance has slipped a bit recently when online meetings have often clashed with other commitments. Occasionally over the years I have attended Rotary meetings elsewhere and appreciated that sense of belonging and welcome in the world wide family of Rotary, but only very occasionally have I engaged in anything beyond my local club, and when something else crops up I won’t manage the local either.
I am also a member of the Incorporation of Tailors in Glasgow. One of the Trades associations now steeped in the history of the city and continuing to do much benevolent work in the City. It is many years since I have been actively engaged – but I have kept my membership, following the family tradition from my Grandfather to my father to me.
I am a member of Mensa, the International High IQ Society, rather exclusive I know… I keep up my modest annual subscription – there’s a bit of kudos in knowing that I belong, the monthly magazine has some interesting articles, I don’t go to any meetings – although have enjoyed some of the recent online offerings.
Years ago I did some study around leadership and was introduced to the idea of folllowership. Around the Church we might call it discipleship. In the work of Barbara Kellerman – she speaks of a spectrum of followership from isolates to bystanders to participants to activists to diehards. Doesn’t that translate into the Church context?
When I ponder the level of engagement that others have to the Church, any judgement is nipped in the bud when I think of my varying commitments to other organisations – and I realise that others say of the Church:
there’s a bit of kudos in knowing that I belong, the monthly magazine has some interesting articles, I don’t go to any meetings – although have enjoyed some of the recent online offerings
And some say… I have kept my membership, following the family tradition from my Grandfather to my father to me.
Others say… only very occasionally have I engaged in anything beyond my local club, and when something else crops up I won’t manage the local either
And some say… I am deeply committed to the Church and cannot imagine life without that sense of belonging
And that challenges and motivates me to meet people where they are… and to review what, when, how, why and where we do what we do to share good, relevant, transformation news with those whom we encounter – and to nudge folk along that spectrum of discipleship…