On Sunday, March 25, 1979 a family placed membership at one of the churches of Christ in Arkansas. This isn’t significant news at all. In fact, we probably visualize three or four people walking down the aisle at the singing of the invitation song, sitting down on the front row, putting their names on a card, then checking the little box in front of “To Place Membership.” They may have done that, but the significant thing is that they did more than that. They handed the elders — no, not a letter of recommendation, but their own letter. It read:

“We are asking to commit the welfare of our souls to your care. Although the weakness of the flesh often betrays us, the prime objective of our lives is obtaining salvation for ourselves, our children, and our fellow man. We therefore ask with all sincerity that you help us in every way possible to be successful in this endeavor. Besides spiritual food, encouragement, and fellowship, we fully expect that the help you give might well take the form of numerous requests to serve, instruct, correct, and if necessary, even discipline. With this in mind, we ask that when and if either of us responds in a negative fashion to a request or fails to measure up in a given task that you not write us off but help us grow and as soon as possible try us again. We view membership in this congregation as an obligation to be subject to its eldership, to be helpful and encouraging to all its members, and to take an active part in its work. We, therefore, state our intentions to give freely of our time, our talents, and our money in order to fulfill that obligation.”

This really happened! And it should still be happening throughout our brotherhood today!

Tim Woodward
Smithville church of Christ
Smithville, TN
Bulletin Digest (December 2010)

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