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Membership Data

by Dirk Foster
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How many members does Zion have? Simple question, but the answer is complex and this time last year, we really didn’t have an answer that we felt was very accurate. So, the council formed a small working group to develop policies and processes associated with membership at Zion. The constitution provides some information and direction on membership but not a lot. Chapter 12 states “The Congregation Council shall provide for an annual review of the membership roster,” but doesn’t give any direction on how that annual review is done.

Over the course of the year, the group developed a separate membership procedure that provides additional guidance on membership. Also, the group produced a Venn diagram which graphically provided information about Zion’s membership.

In addition to being baptized and confirmed, adult membership is defined by three key activities which are contributing, communing, and connecting in the current or previous year. Contributing refers to someone who has contributed financially to Zion. No amount is defined so the date of the last contribution is considered, not the amount. Communing is just what it says; receiving the sacrament of communion at Zion. The group defined being connected to Zion as someone who volunteers or is involved in some way with Zion. It could be as a committee member, Bible study member, Sunday school volunteer, or even a member of a social activity. The key is that the contribution, communing, and being connected are recorded in the church’s membership database called “Fellowship One.”

Venn diagram of membershipLooking at the associated Venn diagram, Zion has 864 contributing members, 511 communing members, and 319 connected members. An active member is someone who has contributed OR communed OR connected in the current or previous year. Zion has 1031 active members. An engaged member is someone who has contributed, AND communed, AND connected in the current or previous year. Zion has 188 engaged members.

Information is only as good as the accuracy of the data. The data for our membership comes from our Fellowship One database. All financial and communion information is recorded in the database. So…. it is very important that when you contribute you provide your gift in a marked envelope. It should be noted, that only a couple of individuals have access to the financial information which is kept very confidential. Not even the pastors know the financial contribution of a specific member. Same when you commune, please fill out a communion card, so that it can be recorded.

Recording how people are connected to Zion is more problematic; however. All of the committees and groups of Zion are organized in the database, but attendance at meetings and gatherings is not always recorded. We could greatly improve the accuracy of our data if we all did a better job of recording our attendance at the various meetings, gatherings, and activities going on at Zion.

One take-away from the associated diagram is the number of individuals who had at one point contributed, communed, or volunteered, but have not done so in the current or previous year. There are 2153 people who fall into this category and represent a great opportunity for us to reach out to them and invite them to become active in church again. This will be done officially, but if you know of someone that doesn’t seem as active at Zion as they have been in the past, please reach out to them and invite them to Sunday morning service or to be part of a group or activity. You’ll be surprised at how little it takes to make a difference in someone’s life.

Now that Zion has more clearly defined our membership policies and developed some processes for keeping our membership rosters accurate, keep an eye out for information about membership in this newsletter, mailings, and announcements and how we can all can become more engaged members of Zion.

Dirk Foster

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