Dwell has no official membership. Founding Pastor Dennis McCallum notes that this certainly is not unique, but it is somewhat unusual, especially for large churches.
“Our refusal to establish a formal membership is the result of our theological understanding of church membership, and our efforts to emulate the early church. The spiritual definition of ‘the church’ includes all true believers, and they are part of the body of Christ whether they attend meetings or not. In that sense, we feel it would be impossible for humans to accurately know who is a member and who is not.
Furthermore, we believe efforts to establish membership can result in an institutional definition of the church rather than an organic or spiritual definition. Some that we define as members would be truly non-members, while others who we deny are members would in fact be members.
We see this distinctive as a good thing, but at the same time, a minor thing. We don’t feel strongly critical of churches that have formal memberships, and in fact, it would be difficult to say how much actual impact this feature has had on Dwell’s development. Our leadership just feels that refusing to define membership contributes to a proper view of the spiritual nature of the church—we let God keep our membership rolls for us.”
Instead, we do place a big emphasis in Dwell on joining a home church because we believe it’s the solution for how people can get connected in a large church. This is consistent with what we read about in the early New Testament churches described in the book of Acts and the apostles’ letters.
Our home churches provide the heart of Christian community for learning about God while developing close friendships. Baptisms, communion, weddings and funerals are all carried out within this context. It’s only natural that serving together with others in your home church is another great way to grow spiritually while meeting the needs of others. It’s also a great way to get a bigger picture of how God is working across the entire church. Interestingly, the word ‘to minister’ is translated from the identical root word as ‘to serve.’
Why Not Volunteer?
May is our annual sign-up month for the nearly 300 hundred volunteer positions that support our Central Teachings (CTs) for adults, and the related ministries for children and students. Why not sign up to volunteer in one of the roles listed below with someone in your home church?
Children's Program (Oasis: Infant-5th grade)
Our staff strives to always remember what it was like coming to Dwell for the first time with our own small children. Many of us admit we initially shared a deep distrust for ‘church’ including many questions about the Bible. Then it became clear that God was at work mightily through the hearts of the volunteers who nurtured our children. This in turn freed us up to soak in teaching after teaching about God’s grace. What a great gift the program is for the whole family. We see many other benefits to volunteering in this ministry:
- It’s a practical way for people of all ages (especially new and prospective parents) to get valuable experience interacting with children. What better way for a parent to lead your child’s spiritual growth than to participate as his or her teacher?
- Through preparing studies for class, many of the newer Christians in our group have accelerated their understanding of the Bible.
- Others have developed teaching abilities that now serve our home church.
- Home churches grow (qualitatively and quantitatively) through the natural friendships made by Oasis volunteers with parents who are newcomers to Dwell.
Parents have a lead role in their children's spiritual development. Dwell provides wonderful opportunities to stay connected with our kids during the incredibly turbulent teen transition years.
Always an important ethic throughout biblical history and in Dwell, leading the next generation by getting involved with your student’s spiritual growth is deeply rewarding on many levels:
- It fosters trust, communication and understanding.
- We develop better perspective, observe first-hand a variety of social settings, and gain wisdom that helps make us more patient and more effective.
- Involvement also can help make us far better teachers and discussion leaders in all settings, including in our adult home churches.
Besides helping to lead a cell group, there are other volunteer roles at middle school meetings.
Central Teaching (CT)
One of the biggest reasons we have such a consistent, welcoming atmosphere at our Central Teachings is the friendly faces and warm smiles of the volunteers who make our weekend meetings possible. Why not consider serving on one of the task teams listed below? Positions renew annually every June. Some positions require additional qualifications, but most just need someone to step up and serve.
- Book Store
- Financial Stewards
- Missions Counter
- Snack Bar
- Audio/Visual Services
- Welcome Centers
- Facilities Hospitality
Get specific CT task team information.