Best-selling author and ministry leader Thom S. Rainer drew an exceptional response when he posted a 500-word declaration about church membership to his daily blog. "I Am a Church Member" started a conversation about the attitudes and responsibilities of church members -- rather than the functional and theological issues -- that previous new member primers all but ignored.
Thoughtfully expanded to book form, I Am a Church Member begins to remedy the outbreak of inactive or barely committed church members, addressing without apology what is expected of those who join a body of believers. When a person's attitude is consistently biblical and healthy, matters of giving, serving, and so forth will fall into place more naturally.
Six intentional chapters with study questions guide this rising discussion:
1. I Will Be a Unifying Church Member
2. I Will Not Let the Church Be About My Preferences and Desires
3. I Will Pray for My Church Leaders
4. I Will Lead My Family to Be Healthy Church Members
5. I Will Be a Functioning Member
6. I Will Treasure Church Membership as a Gift
- Great book for those new to church.
I wanted to listen to I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference by Thomas Rainer, because I was looking for a book that might be of assistance to those people that are new to our Church, but also new to church in-general. I thought about picking up the Kindle Version, but when I saw this book on Christian Audio, I decided to go ahead and pick it up. Listening to audiobooks on my ride to work and while I am working out, has been very beneficial.
Basically this book breaks down a few basic elements of Biblical Church membership. The author speaks as a Pastor (and the member of a church). He shares different stories with each chapter, and then builds a Biblical basis for the point of understanding Biblical Church Membership. I appreciate that the points, though they include the stories and personal experiences, are not built on these accounts. The principles are built on scripture, the other elements are just there to assist in illustrating different aspects of these principles.
At the end of each chapter, he restates the principle in the form of a commitment that a person could state as a promise to others in the church. There is a huge benefit here, because it draws people in for the application of the Biblical truth they just read/listened to. It is also a fairly short book. the audio chapters are only about 15 minutes long, and there are only about 6 chapters. I am considering looking for a package deal of these in paperback for the church. I will at least get one for myself to draw from as new people continue to come to Edgewood (www.edgewood-danville.org).
If you are looking for a great way to help new members understand what they are "getting themselves in to" then this is a good book that could be used to accomplish that task.
- Great for the new Christian or small group leader
This review, by Dr. Nicholson, has been provided courtesy of Desert Bible Institute (www.desertbibleinstitute.com).
Thom Rainer in his book, I Am a Church Member, provides his audience with a clear, applicable commentary on how we, as church members, can better understand, appreciate, and enjoy our time in the church. Perhaps the first point that should be made is that this book's main audience is the new, disconnected, or frustrated Christian. Rainer repeatedly shares about people who come into the church, get excited, become more involved but ultimately see the flaws in the church. What Rainer offers is that we have two choices. We can either accept the flaws of the men and women we serve with, or we can focus on these flaws and because of this drive ourselves out of the church. This is not to say that we as Christians don't all (regardless of or time or position in the church) need to here this message. We all experience frustration and burnout; however, the thrust of Rainer's purpose is how to get the disenfranchised Christian to understand what it really means to be a member of the church.
This book would prove extraordinarily useful in a home study, membership class, or small group study. What makes it most pertinent to these types of studies are the structure, the review, and the pledge. The book is broken into six, manageable sections that could easily be shared and discussed in under an hour. At the end of these sections are review questions. These questions help not only with discussion of a group, but also with the reflection of an individual. Finally, each section ends with a pledge. Not unlike the Pledge of Allegiance that we recited in school, these pledges are there for each person to reflect on our personal responsibly and accountability to something greater: our commitment to God, the church, and to each other.
Trent Nicholson, Ph.D., D.Min.
Desert Bible Institute, President
Dr. Nicholson is a member of the christianaudio review program. To learn more, visit their website at: www.christianaudio.com.