Archive for the ‘Church Membership’ category

When Do You Contact a Local Area Pastor?

September 1, 2008

The guys over at Expository Thoughts asked the question, “When do you contact a local area pastor?” (when one of his members begins attending your church). I have actually had this situation occur, and I handle it differently depending on the situation. If the church they are coming from is a church of “like faith” then I contact the pastor as soon as I find out they are members elsewhere (our visitor cards have a place for people to tell us where they are currently members, although people don’t always fill it out). I like to give the Pastor a chance to visit his member and see if the situation can be rectified before we begin to get them too attached to our church. I do not want to grow our church via transfers.

Let me explain what I mean by “like faith”: Our church is an independent Baptist Church that adheres to the fundamentals of the faith. I consider other churches of “like faith” to be those that are also ‘fundamental’ (I know that fundamental has bad connotations, but no other term to describe what I am has made it to the forefront. Just understand that I believe separation should be over doctrine, not preferences.) I try to make sure that I have a good relationship with all other ‘fundamental’ churches in the area, whether they be Baptists, Bible Churches, Community Churches, certain Presbyterians, etc. I maintain that relationship by showing them that I am not trying to ‘steal’ their members.

Now, if the person is visiting our church from a denomination or church that I believe has serious doctrinal issues, or that is unwilling to separate over the key doctrines of the Faith, then I make no contact with the Pastor. The only contact that will come is the standard ‘membership transfer letter’ that we send if the person at some point desires to join our church through transfer. I do this to make sure there are no church discipline issues that I am unaware of.

The only exception that I can think of is if I had a personal relationship with a conservative evangelical pastor in the area. If I felt that a person coming to my church from his would damage our relationship, then I would contact him just as I would a pastor of “like faith”. This situation is not currently a problem for me.

I would like to know if a member of my church is visiting another church as soon as possible. So I try to “do unto others” in this area.