The prominent theologian Stanley Hauerwas attempted to join a Methodist church some years ago. The pastor told him that before he could join the church, he would need to attend a new member's orientation class that met each week for a year. Hauerwas replied, "I dutifully and gladly did this."
It is rare for a pastor to lay down this requirement for a prospective member. But there is little doubt that the experience is life-changing. Even the very existence of such a program is likely to create congregational renewal.
From the editorial, Going Deeper, The Christian Century, February 22, 2011