Spiritual growth is every bit as important as physical growth and it is often difficult to quantify. However, numbers can help you see your progress and assist you in targeting areas of need. So I would encourage you to do an annual evaluation of your growth statistics. If done each year, it can become a valuable tool for planning and goal setting. The annual update of your membership roll is an important tool that will assist you in this process.
By Tim Massengale
Annual Statistical Church Evaluation
If your church is incorporated within your great state – as it well should be – then you are required by law to hold an annual business meeting. At this business meeting you must maintain a roster roll of members. These are those individuals that are official members of your church and have met your membership qualifications. They are eligible to vote on matters of the church. There are three very important reasons why this is critical.
Protect against Lawsuit
First, your church should be incorporated to protect your church members from liability in case of lawsuit. If you end up with a slip-and-fall suit or one of your youth workers molests a child, chances are you will be sued, if not by the individual, then by their insurance company.
If you are incorporated this makes your church a separate entity in the eyes of the law. But if you are not incorporated – then the bank accounts and personal assets of your members become liable for redress. If you are incorporated, they can go no farther than the accounts and assets of the church. Your personal assets and your member’s assets are protected. But for this to work you have to hold that annual business meeting and keep your membership roll up to date.
Determining who can Vote
The second reason is the one I want to emphasize here today. Your roster roll determines who can vote. Recently one of our good pastors was accused of immorality. He stated emphatically that it was not true and frankly I believe him. But it caused considerable dissention in the church. The church bylaws stated that if such a situation arose, and there was no clear evidence to prove his innocence, that there should be held a vote of confidence. If the pastor had lost the confidence of a majority of the members, then he would be removed.
So brethren, don’t neglect your annual business meeting; and keep your membership roll current. This list of members, based upon what your bylaws state are the requirements for membership, should be updated each year. Third reason for keeping your membership roll up to date – it’s an excellent growth evaluation tool.
You should be able to go over the list each year and for each name you remove, note down why: Death, moved away, or backslid. If they had backslidden, ask yourself ‘why.’ Was there something more you could have done? Is there some way to prevent this from happening again? You cannot stop everyone from leaving. But a good pastor is not afraid to ask himself the hard questions and to make changes if needed. You should also look at every name you add to your membership list. Membership increase comes three ways: Births, move-in’s and new converts. Look at each convert and ask yourself what methods were utilized to reach them. What programs, ministries, and events are bringing in the most results?