I have often voiced my complaints with the direction of the Reformed Church in America. Let me take today to mention one very specific thing I’m thankful for.

In our Book of Church Order, there is an article on the responsibilities of the board of elders. Section 3 reads as follows:

At each regular meeting, the board of elders shall seek to determine whether any members of the congregation are:

a. in need of special care regarding their spiritual condition and/or

b. are not making faithful use of the means of grace, i.e., attending worship and participating in the sacraments and shall provide the means of extending Christian ministry to such persons.

Every year, when the denomination gives us forms to fill out as a church, the elders are asked whether we are being faithful to attend to this question at every meeting. I’m not sure how others treat the inquiry, but we take it very seriously. In my book, this requirement is one of the best things about the RCA. Obviously, it’s only as good as the elders who carry it out, but the focus is squarely in the right place.

I wonder how many churches, from any denomination or no denomination at all, approach their member care this deliberately? It requires a system for knowing your people. It requires elders trained in the work of shepherding. It requires planning to make this a part of the elders agenda every month. It requires an honest and deliberate strategy for membership.

Who needs spiritual help?

Who seems to be drifting from active participation in the church?

Elders and pastors, if you aren’t asking those questions, or if you have no reliable way to answer the questions, you ought to consider what must change so that you will and you can.