Our Father Lutheran: The Process
How Our Father Lutheran Invites Members into Ministry
2. The Process
At Our Father Lutheran Church in Centennial, Colorado, the getting-people-connected process is coordinated by the Member Integration Team. That team is headed by Jan Burmeister and Elaine Hamburger, and supported by staff member Linda Olsen. (See also "A Commitment to Connecting People," part 1 of this story.)
Those who wish to become members go through the following steps, which are offered twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall.
- A six-week doctrine class. This step can be skipped by transfers from another Lutheran church.
A six-week orientation class which includes:
- a get acquainted night where they meet their sponsors and enjoy appetizers and wine, social time, a tour of the building, mixer games and small group discussion. Samples: Sponsor Duties and Sponsor Form
- a Bible study on stewardship
- a spiritual gifts inventory. Class participants also receive a listing of the church ministries, and the spiritual gifts that 'match' those ministries
- Those who lead major ministries in the church come to one session to let people know what volunteer opportunities are available
- Meeting their lay ministers
- Discussing the importance of small groups for Bible study and also talk about sharing faith in a small group.
- Completing a time and talent sheet. (Sample)
- The sponsors stay in touch with their new member. Sponsor Duties and Sponsor Form
- New members are received during a worship service. They are given corsages to wear that Sunday (and "New Member" ribbons to wear for a longer time on the name tags all members wear). That Sunday, the worship folder contains photos of the new members, along with short bios highlighting their interests and hobbies.
- In the meantime, information from the time and talent sheet has been entered into a database and distributed to ministry coordinators, who are asked to contact people interested in their area of ministry.
- In an optional third six-week series, the new members are invited to experience being in a small group.
- About four months after the new members are received, they are invited to a "reunion," held during the Sunday School hour. In addition to enjoying food and social time, each new member speaks with a trained volunteer who asks them specific questions to measure their volunteer involvement, the number of people they know, etc. (Sample form and information.)
Other elements of Member Integration:
- all church members are asked to complete the time and talent sheet (Sample) annually. As with new members, the info from completed forms goes into a database and also is sent out to ministry coordinators for follow-up.
- a Barnabas ministry to inactive members is also part of member integration
The process is always improving. They are currently considering having sponsors attend all six orientation classes and serve as discussion leaders there.