Is it appropriate to include non-members in leading church services?
Generally speaking, we don’t believe so. Exceptions occur, as with guest preachers. But churches should generally use only members to lead church services because:
Members are those who have submitted themselves to the love and authority of the entire congregation. They are accountable to the church in a way non-members are not. The church knows and can vouch for the character of members. That’s what membership means, after all. It’s the church’s corporate testimony, “This person professes Christ, and his life, as far as we know, is consistent with that profession."
Churches have a vested interest in maintaining this accountability since any person who participates in publicly leading a Christian gathering, whether speaking or just playing an instrument, stands as a visible representative for the church and, therefore, for Christ.
Any person who leads the church, whether in reading, prayer, singing, or in any other way, implicitly sets an example for others. Someone who hasn’t committed to join the church shouldn’t be held up as an example for others.
For more great resources from Mark Dever and 9Marks Ministries, visit www.9marks.org