Please read the following RCM (regenerate church membership) resolution that was passed at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis this week (see link below). This was the third year that such a resolution has been presented (this time a combination of 4 different RCM resolutions and amendments added after the resolution committee gave the first version), and this year it passed!
Personally, I believe that this is an important resolution by the convention, and it will only matter if the churches that cooperate with the SBC will take it to heart and begin to act on it. As you may already know, of the 16,266,920 SBC members reported in the ACP reports (annual church profile), only 6,148,868 are accounted for in weekly average attendance (i.e. 62% AWOL). The result is obvious: Southern Baptists need “to repent of the failure among us to live up to our professed commitment to regenerate church membership and any failure to obey Jesus Christ in the practice of lovingly correcting wayward church members.”
If you attend an SBC local church that does not practice RCM, this may be a time to bring this issue before your church, whether to a deacon or to your pastor. In my opinion, it is time for us to be honest about our roles, to make sure that those who are on them are regenerate believers (e.g. one of the signs of regeneration is being a dedicated part of the church), get rid of duplicates (e.g. people who are members elsewhere), get rid of those who have passed away (e.g. but we don’t know it), and weed out the tares (unbelievers . . . and visit them to share the gospel with them . . . ). That is something a church with integrity will endeavor to address, correct, and repent of not carefully taking care of those things and using church discipline to bring some back, and mark some off. This needs to be addressed in local SBC churches. If no one is willing to do it, then the resolution passed at the convention will die with the meeting.
It has been my prayer now for several months that many churches where I currently live will begin to lead the way in reaffirming regenerate church membership both in conviction and in practice. I have asked that the church I am currently preaching at (interim pastor) to take a look at their roles, call those missing, visit them, share the gospel with them, take them off if necessary. Repentance is always a good thing. If you feel compelled to bring this up at your church, do it with humility. I do hope you will pray about it.
Click here to read the resolution as passed at the convention meeting in Indianapolis, June 10-11, 2008.