Years ago Mindy and I joined a gym in California. It was called LA Fitness. We still have some great memories of going to the gym and then coming home, making dinner and hanging out. We joined with some high level commitment and cost. We had to pay an opening fee, go through some rigorous explanation of the gym, and then agree to a continual ongoing fee that was pulled out of our account. Once our baby arrived, we decided to save money, stop going to the gym, and just use the equipment at our apartment. We had to put a freeze on our account so we could get right back in without having to re-enroll and pay all the start up fees. Crazy right? That was our culture only five years ago.
Planet Fitness is my favorite gym right now. They just believe in getting people into the gym for regular workouts. They started out with a $10 a month fee. Then you just come and join with no real hassle. They have a pizza night where they serve pizza. They sponsor a bagel day. This may not be the gym for being the fit body builder; it is for regular people who just want to work out.
Our culture has moved further and further away from being a membership culture. We are not joiners or members too much anymore. Ask anyone who is a part of any club that previously had tons of members. We are fast paced and much of our membership involves signing up and being connected to only the services we want. When I joined my most recent gym I did this. I signed up at Club Fitness, and wanted to be able to get in and work out when I needed to. I even passed over my free session with a trainer.
One of the things you may have noticed is that we have an opportunity each month at Mt. Calvary to take a look at what’s going on, as well as an opportunity for new visitors to see who we are. This is a part of our ever-changing culture. We want to provide a way to change with culture, and help people see what it means to be a part of this community. We want to offer the opportunity to hear about God’s story, the LCMS story, and our story, along with hearing about the things we do in this place.
Yet, covenant should not be lost. Membership may be taking a back seat in people’s minds, but the covenant is the important part. Jesus came into the covenant of God’s people. He was brought into that by Simeon. Covenant is all about the promise to stay faithful. In our new discipleship model we are bringing people into that covenant to follow Jesus. What does it mean to be His disciple and to follow Him? This weekend as we prepare to begin a new year, we will talk about just that. We will talk about the Old Testament version of a covenant, and how that impacts us today. We will discuss how baptism is our new connection to that covenant. Our culture can change with its version of membership, but as people, commitment is still important. We all know that. As Christians we see that even on a deeper level as we watch how God is committed to us. We see how He kept His covenant with us, and this weekend we will learn how to respond and keep a covenant with Him.