“I have heard of membership, but ownership…what is that?” At Westwinds we desire a fresh perspective on almost everything. No doubt you have noticed that our society talks a lot about “loyalty”, “rewards” and things like “buying into” ideas. Not only is the concept of owning more relevant than membership, but more importantly, it is rooted in the story upon which we base everything we do – the Bible.
If you are interested in Ownership and would like more information, you may request a copy of the Ownership Manual at the Westwinds Offices, the Soundwords Counter, or click here.
The following are three key Westwinds Ownership principles and accompanying questions to provide guidance in considering Ownership.
Those who have not yet begun to follow the Way of Jesus are encouraged to cross that line of faith and live their lives for Christ. God has created us to be in dynamic relationship with Him. Westwinds is nothing but the expression of many of those individual relationships coming together for wholeness, learning, mutual encouragement, and worship of the One who made them. It has been said that there are many paths to God – this is not true. There are, however, many ways to find Jesus, but Jesus Christ is the only way to God. Owners, therefore, must have a vertical relationship that only can come through a personal encounter with Jesus. Owners at Westwinds long for transformative experiences and are not content to stagnate and waste away spiritually.
Have you engaged in a relationship with Jesus?
When and how did you come to the conclusion you needed Him?
Ownership is a dynamic term. By definition it requires a high degree of commitment to the church and to the people of the church. The essence of the local church is relationships…not only the vertical relationship with God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ, but also through the horizontal relationships with other owners. There is nothing better than accomplishing mission in the context of deep community.
The old model of membership often had the idea that “the church” was to provide care, nurture, and support for its members. Of course, that statement is true, provided the definition of “church” is agreed upon. In the old membership system “church” was defined as “clergy.” The clergy was perceived as the professionally trained care givers. Membership usually implied commitment to an institution, not to the relationships cultivated with others in the church.
In the new ownership model this more traditional approach is eliminated. Community only happens to the degree we give and receive love, laughter, and faithfulness. The appropriate role of leadership is to train and equip our owners for healthy interdependence. The old idea of “clergy as the hired professional” to do the ministry is void. The role of church leadership as defined in God’s Word is as trainers, equippers, and releasers. Their role is fundamentally to help owners become healthy, grow, and utilize their spiritual gifts.
With what habits and practices are you currently involved within The Elements?
As an owner you must remain connected to others. Are you committed to that?
How would you describe the difference between the older membership model of joining and the newer ownership model of belonging?
Owners are not only excited about forming relationships with others as they “do life” together; they are also impassioned about being a part of something much bigger than themselves. Owners have come to conclude that they want to be a part of a bigger-than-life mission of reaching other people with the Story of God. Owners share this life transformation with their friends, neighbors, and relatives. They aren’t “joining” to be catered to…they own Westwinds because they want to be active in fulfilling God’s mission in this place and in this way. They are energized by this way of doing ministry. They want to make known they can be counted on to partner with other owners in accomplishing the God-sized task of living with the transforming Gospel and welcoming others into His Kingdom.
Are you committed to actively participate in accomplishing the mission and vision of Westwinds Community Church?