A Matter of Membership: An Assessment of Active Congregational Membership
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“WELS has approximately 56,000 fewer members than it did 25 years ago.” (Forward in Christ, Volume 105, Number 5 - May 2018). For many years, church membership has been in decline. Yet Covid hang-over symptoms such as online worshippers and worship absentees provide the need to reassess the role of active membership in our congregations. The goal of this thesis is to analyze what it means to be a member of a church in the twenty-first century. By establishing scriptural and historical evidence of membership, the first half of the thesis will summarize current attitudes toward membership today. After sharing conclusions from interviews with church leaders of various backgrounds, the thesis will offer practical principles when examining their membership practice in order to strengthen and build up the souls entrusted to their care.