I get a lot of questions about Rabbit Room membership—especially around this time of the year when the new mugs are going out. The term “membership” can come with a whole host of assumptions or misunderstandings. After all, we have gym memberships and club memberships, and the idea is often associated with some sort of exclusive access you can buy your way into. But at the Rabbit Room, we approach things with a different spirit. We chose the term “membership” intentionally back in 2013, and we want to take a moment to address what it means to be a Rabbit Room member.
When we say membership, we mean it in the Wendell Berry sense. In The Wild Birds, Burley Coulter says, “The way we are, we are members of each other. All of us. Everything.” It’s about coming together as a community in common belonging and purpose. Rabbit Room members have committed to sharing in the responsibility for the well-being of this work, this place, and this people. This means that members join in stewarding the mission and are included in the ongoing vision. In a practical sense, they share in the work by giving a recurring monthly donation of $25 or more, and they receive updates on current happenings as well as upcoming goals and projects we’re dreaming about together.
Membership makes it possible for us to offer free and affordable works to the community. As always, we want to approach community from a Kingdom-centered mindset, and members are both beneficiaries of and partners in that.Shigé Clark
Sometimes I wonder if our members truly understand the difference they make. Their partnership provides a consistent, predictable foundation of funding that the Rabbit Room can rely on to build programs and put new works into the world. The Hutchmoots, the Molehills, the podcasts, the Local Shows, the book releases, (the secret projects)—all are made possible, in large part, due to the faithful involvement of a group of people who’ve decided that they have a place at the Rabbit Room in a deep and lasting sense. As Matt McCullough said in a blog post about the book Jayber Crow, to belong to a community is “to be implicated substantively, not just sympathetically, in the ups and downs of a place and its people.”
We strive to embody that Berry-esque sense of mutual service toward each other. We want to live out membership from a place of gratitude, so we send quarterly gifts to our members to thank them for being a part of the work. Yet, it’s important to us that membership be inclusive. So, aside from the mug and membership card, there are no programs, products, or services offered to members that aren’t also available to everyone else.
At the end of the day, members are joining the Rabbit Room in a work of service. The funds, prayer, and support they provide not only go toward the creation of new and wonderful things; they also enable us to operate from a place of generosity. Membership makes it possible for us to offer free and affordable works to the community, like the Podcast Network, the Local Show, and Hutchmoot scholarships. As always, we want to approach community from a Kingdom-centered mindset, and members are both beneficiaries of and partners in that.
So, if this sounds like you, consider joining us in that service. If the Rabbit Room mission is your mission, if this has been a community that has blessed and bolstered you, if you love the work God is doing here and want to see it continued, if you’ve found your sense of place here, then know that this is for you. We have new dreams on the horizon, and we need our members to help us achieve them. We want you to be a part of all of it!
And to all those who are already participants in the membership of the Rabbit Room, thank you. We’re glad and grateful to be doing this together.
(Just to make sure we’re not confusing any of our Tennessee folks, Rabbit Room membership doesn’t confer any legal rights of “membership” as defined under the Tennessee Nonprofit Corporation Act.)