Original Research

'Belonging before believing': Some missiological implications of membership and belonging in a Christian community

Mario Weyers, Willem Saayman
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 34, No 1 | a834 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v34i1.834 | © 2013 Mario Weyers, Willem Saayman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 February 2013 | Published: 31 July 2013

About the author(s)

Mario Weyers, Unit for Reformed Theology, North-West University, South Africa; Department of Practical Theology, Evangelical Theological Faculty, Leuven, Belgium
Willem Saayman, Department of Missiology, University of South Africa, South Africa


In the final stages of the modern period the power of hegemonic ideologies is coming to an end as people identify less with grand ideologies and more with subcultures related to technology and social and economic networks of different kinds. The post-Christendom phase has begun and is radically challenging Christendom notions of membership and ministry. We have to assume that in a post-Christendom society, the familiarity with Christian concepts will fade as the decline of Christendom has meant that Christian discourse has been losing its status as a lingua franca. It is therefore important that the church will anticipate longer journeys towards faith and not move on to disciple new converts too quickly. Post-Christendom evangelisation will consequently take longer, start further back and move more slowly. For these reasons the authors propose that the question of standards for membership be reconsidered where churches are planted in postmodern contexts. They propose that the old order of ‘believing before belonging’ be replaced by ‘belonging before believing’.


Belong; Believe; Postmodern; Membership


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Crossref Citations

1. The Value of Belongingness in Relation to Religious Belief, Institutionalized Religion, Moral Judgement and Solidarity
Jiří Pospíšil, Pavla Macháčková
Religions  vol: 12  issue: 12  first page: 1052  year: 2021  
doi: 10.3390/rel12121052