Please Go To Other Area Churches

Today’s corner may hurt some people but I feel compelled to write it.

As you know, it’s our policy to not allow people from other area churches to become members of our church, even if they are not yet believers. I won’t rehash all the reasons for this policy, but let me mention just one: we don’t want to hurt other area churches.

Some churches in the U.S. and Korea grow by leaps and bounds, their memberships increasing by hundreds or thousands a year. But most of their new members come from smaller churches in the area. Behind the success stories, there are many pastors who are discouraged by their church members moving to these large churches. Some small churches close their doors because there is no one left.

Having seen this happen, I decided to enact the policy of not allowing people from area churches to become members of our church. I don’t want to hurt my fellow pastors and damage other churches in the area.

I have noticed a growing number of people attending our Sunday worship services, fully knowing that they won’t be allowed to become church members. They don’t want to become members; they just enjoy the Sunday sermons.

Jesus did not build the church for personal enjoyment. He wants churches to make disciples. And people cannot become disciples if they only attend Sunday worship services. They must become active members of a church.

I urge those of you who attend our worship services regularly without intending to become members to find another church to call your home. The fact that you come to our church services regularly shows that you are faithful Christians. Many other churches in the area need people like you. Find a church where you can serve rather than be served.

I would also like to ask for cooperation from Shepherds and their spouses. You must understand that allowing people who left local churches to attend your house church meetings without the possibility of them ever becoming church members hurts them in the long run. For everyone’s good, you must forbid them from attending your house church meetings and encourage them to become members of other churches in the area.

Some Shepherds ask me to make exceptions, citing various reasons. This will never happen. To do so would embarrass other Shepherds who have respected this policy in their house churches and make them liars. And if we allow one exception, there will be a flood of requests from other Shepherds to do the same one for them.

There are only two exceptions to this policy: When a married couple has not attended another church for over two years and one of them is not saved, they may join our church. Also, if someone’s former pastor sends me a letter of recommendation or email asking me to admit him or her as a church member, they may join our church. Aside from these two, there will be no other exceptions.

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