Book Review: I Am A Church Member by Thom S. Rainer
Are you a member of a country club church? The truth is painful but we need to hear it. My Sunday School class is studying I Am A Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes a Difference by Lifeway President and CEO, Thom S. Rainer. Matter of fact, not only is my class studying it but also every department in my church. Published by B&H in 2013, it’s a small book, but it packs a big punch.
Based on 1 Cor. 12-14, Rainer attempts to remedy the epidemic of inactive and barely-committed church members and explains the biblical expectations of those who join a body of believers. Ronnie Floyd, Senior Pastor of Cross Church writes, “This book needs to be read by every pastor and church member globally. Find a way to get it to every Christ-follower.”
“We may just discover that the reason our nation is in such bad shape is because our churches are so unhealthy.” Thom Rainer
The timely book will not only lead the reader to personal introspection but also lead a church to take steps towards health and revitalization. The book has six succinct chapters packed with wisdom and application:
- I Will Be a Functioning Member. The Apostle Paul explains the metaphor of the church being a body of believers made of many parts serving together in unity with love as the central attitude and action. Country club members pay dues to get others to work for them and serve them. They are entitled. With church membership, everyone has a necessary role and serves without hesitation. Will you serve unselfishly?
- I Will Be a Unifying Church Member. Rainer explains that each of us has a responsibility to be a source of unity. God demands it. Gossip will not be tolerated. He explains that unity will not happen if there are unforgiving hearts. Are you a person people approach with gossip?
- I Will Not Let the Church Be About My Preferences and Desires. Rainer lists 10 behavior patterns of churches that are inwardly focused and self-serving. We will never find joy in church membership when we strive to demand our own preferences. Do you contribute to the dismal statistics of decline? Will you let go of your preferences for the sake of the growth of the body of Christ?
- I Will Pray for My Church Leaders. Satan is alive and well and he targets pastors and spiritual leaders in an attempt to trap them and destroy them. Rainer implores church members to pray for their pastor: his peaching, his family, his schedule, his protection and his health. Will you pray for your pastor and staff?
- I Will Lead My Family to Be Healthy Church Members. Parents should teach their families to love the local church. Rainer encourages families to pray together for the church, worship and serve together. We are to love our churches deeply and unconditionally despite occasional disagreements. Will you lead your family to be healthy church members?
- I Will Treasure Church Membership as a Gift. Church membership is a privilege. This means serving is a “get to” not a “got to”. Our attitude towards serving is that of joy and anticipation rather than obligation and guilt. Are you humbled and honored to serve in your church?
I Am A Church Member can be read in about two sittings. It is appropriate for a church-wide study, small group setting and individual reading. Each chapter ends with a pledge and thought-provoking study questions to guide discussion. Buy a copy for yourself and your pastor.
What will your attitude be? Will it make a difference? Will you join others and be part of making a change?