Michael McKinley wrote this on the 9Marks Blog:

So in our church, non-members are welcome to attend and participate in the public services of the church.  We are happy to have them in our Sunday morning gathering, our Sunday evening gathering, and our fellowship meals.

But we don’t let people attend small groups…until they are members.


This statement shocks me, and runs countercultural to what we, as a church are trying to accomplish.  We never want to exclude new folks from being a part of our small groups, because we believe that the best way to get connected, grow in your faith, and become a disciple of Christ is in the context of small groups.

If we were to exclude visitors from linking up with small groups, we would, in effect, be saying that we value church membership over discipleship.

I’m not ready to make a statement like that.

Discipleship doesn’t start when you become a church member.

But maybe I’m wrong.

What do you think?

Should visitors be excluded from small groups, until they become members?