“It’s actually friendly and generous,” she said, asking people where they stand on the core heart principles on a scale of one to 10. “A 10 is all in. And a one is like, ‘I’m willing to try what you’re asking.’ And that’s OK. But we’re asking are you willing to try.”
Orangecrest’s membership commitment includes a one-hour preview class with a Gospel presentation, a call to Christian discipleship and an opportunity to ask follow-up questions; a three-hour Discover class detailing the church’s purpose, structure and convictions, and a third step involving a commitment conversation with a church leader.
“We ask people when they become members to commit to the heart attitudes. It’s treat each other in a way that honors God and makes relationships enjoyable,” De La Rosa said. “We’re committed to these attitudes that guide the way we relate to one another and to the church. And what these are are just a summary – some of the commitments – of the ‘one anothers’ in the Scripture in the way we’re to relate to each other, and then relate to the whole church.”
Taylor, an Orangecrest elder who was among the core membership team with Brittany, said “it’s helpful to know who’s still with us.
“You look around the room and this is our tribe, our people that are paddling the boat all in the same direction. It lets us know through each season who’s with us at a heart and commitment level.”
Keeping an accurate and up-to-date count of committed members helps the church plan its ministries and budget, and be intentional in shepherding those under the pastors’ care, De La Rosa said.
“We know who we’re responsible to shepherd,” he said, “and who we’ll give an account for. That’s out of 1 Peter 5. … It says shepherds … oversee the flock under your care. Jesus is the chief shepherd. All of us shepherds will give an account to the chief shepherd on how we cared for and looked after and fed and protected the flock.
“One of the goals is, we want to keep accurate who’s in the flock. That’s really important.”
The seven heart attitudes of all 17:6 Network churches are to put the goals and interests of others above personal goals, to live an honest and open life before others, to give and receive scriptural correction, to clear up relationships (based on Matthew 5:23-24), to participate in the ministry of the church, to financially support the work of the church, and to follow spiritual leadership within spiritual limits.
The Neeces, parents of four children spanning ages five – 10, are active in several areas of the church. Both lead in their home a life group of 30 adults and serve on the facility team. Taylor teaches a Sunday School class and Brittany, a trained counselor, leads a 24-week counseling and care class for church volunteers.
The intentional membership process engenders full participation and a sense of belonging, Brittany said.
“It’s unifying as a body. There’s this sense of what God allowed us to accomplish together,” Brittany said. “It’s really motivating to stay on task, stay on mission, and not get derailed.
“There’s a real sense that the ministry is carried out by the people. Our pastors love well and they serve greatly, but there’s not a sense that the work is up to them.”
This article originally appeared here.