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KUC Church Membership Audit Seminar
January 24, 2013

On January 20, 2013 G.T. Ng, Executive Secretary at the GC, made a special trip to Korea for the purpose of presenting a two hour seminar to union and conference secretaries including pastors and church clerks from the Seoul metropolitan area about Church Membership Audit.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Ng described the difficult birth of their 2nd grand child, born five months ago.  The question was then asked, “Will his daughter in law, the mother to their grandchild, forget her baby?” Drawing from the text Isaiah 49:15, “Can a women forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?”,

Dr. Ng asked the participants who are the church’s babies. Reminding all of us that a church’s newly baptized members are our babies and we should not forget these individuals.  The purpose of the meeting encouraged us to ask ourselves “where are the church’s children?” It becomes a spiritual exercise to find our children and bring them home.

In a practical way, some of the church clerks were asked to show their record keeping systems while being asked (1) what church they represented, (2) how many people were listed as church members (3) how old was their church (4) how many came to church on Sabbath and how this number compares with the membership total on their records.“What are churches doing to contact and bring these members back to the church?” was the final question.

These questions encouraged the participants to focus on what needs to be done to reach the people who no longer attend church and how the Church membership audit helps to identify these individuals. Dr. Ng emphasized the importance and need to educate not only the pastors but, church members about the sacredness and importance of church membership.

Church members need to be educated to request transfer of membership when they start to attend another church. When a person asks for transfer by profession of faith, if the membership is not checked, the person’s name is counted multiple times as a member only in different locations. “Where ever you go, your membership goes with you!” was a statement reiterated multiple times by Dr. Ng.

The church membership records kept by the church clerks should be numbered with contact information about each person beside their name, including phone numbers and address. This information is essential for membership audits. Dr. Ng suggested if records are missing contact information, then create a list of those names and print them in the church bulletin, asking the church family to help locate these people by providing any contact information.

Church membership audits help the pastor to identify which members are no longer attending church to encourage visitation by elders, deacons as well as the pastors. These people need encouragementwith their spiritual life and need to know they are missed.  Finding the church’s children becomes a spiritual exercise in bringing them back home.

There was ample time for questions, concerns and clarification of what was being presented before the close of the meeting at 5 p.m. Attendees were reminded to use the 2012 Church Manual as a resource for what to do when a church member states he has changed his mind and no longer wants to be a Seventh-Day Adventist or just cannot be located or found or for questions like what is the definition of a church Business meeting. 

With a church membership audit, the GC is fully aware and supportive that for a period of time, the church membership numbers might be reduced.  However, our top church leadership strongly believes this is a mater of integrity and we should not bare false witness to others about the size of our church.

In conclusion, we were reminded of the 99 sheep the shepherd had at the end of the day when he realized he was still missing one from his herd. The shepherd knew he was missing one sheep because he counted his sheep. Hence, the shepherd went to look for that one lost sheep.  The analogy drawnis we must also count our members.  Membership audit is not an exercise in the numerical but a redemptive process. Thus, when members are found missing they need to be searched for and redeemed by the grace of God.