One of the central issues of our day when it comes to the doctrine of the Church is interestingly enough, church membership. Many Christians today struggle with the idea of becoming or even being members of the Church. For some Christians just merely attending Church is okay with them and they don’t care to be bothered with becoming a member. Having grown up in the Church, I’ve seen both approaches to this issue but there is a better way. Church membership is vital because the New Testament epistles were written in response to Christians gathering together in local churches under the authority and care of pastors and elders. Church membership is important not because it takes into account how many people are actually part of the Church thus affecting how money will be allocated in terms of a budget, but because church membership represents responsibility ordained by God. It is in the context of the local Church where Christians are to one another each other. The over fifty one another passages in the New Testament make no sense apart from being a member of a local Church under qualified and godly biblical eldership.
While the topic of church membership in recent years has thankfully risen to the fore, and we’ve discussed it extensively from a biblical-theological framework on Servants of Grace, a new book by Dr. Thom Rainer, President and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources has come out. Dr. Rainer’s book does not get into all the biblical arguments for church membership. In fact the book isn’t concerned much with explaining church membership at all but it is with explaining the attitudes that Christians should exhibit towards church membership. This is an important point to note. Dr. Rainer believes firmly in church membership and has written about it on his blog. I have come to greatly appreciate Dr. Rainer’s stance and voice on matters of the church. His book I Am a Church Member is important for Christians to read to understand how to be a healthy church member.
The book opens with a story of a man committed to staying at his local church and another who wants to leave. In chapter one Dr. Rainer explores what it looks like to be a functioning member while in chapter two he looks at how to bring unity to the local church. Chapter three explores preferences and desires not getting in the way of committing to the church. Chapter four examines the importance of praying for church leaders. Chapter five explains what it means to lead one’s family to be healthy church members. The book concludes with looking at what it means to treasure church membership.
I Am A Church Member is a very good book that will challenge how Christian approach attending and being a part of the Church. Often in my experience Christians come to Church as consumers and forget that while yes; they need to be fed from the Word of God; as they are growing in Christ they also need to serve Christ. This book will help Christians understand what their role and responsibilities are within the Church with the intended goal being that a healthy and functioning members of local churches help impact their work places and communities for the Gospel. While what I just described is the heart of this book much more could be said about this excellent resource. This fabulous resource would be great for small groups to go through. Whether this resource is used in small group or just for reading at one’s leisure, Dr. Thom Rainer has given the Church a gift in I Am A Church Member, a book that I believe the Lord will use to help Christians understand the importance of the local Church and how they should approach their membership in it.
Author: Thom Rainer
Publisher: B&H (2013)
I received this for free from B&H book review program for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and is the Host for the Equipping You in Grace Podcast. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Parler, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.