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.
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“Do you know how to remain a biblical member of a church? Give abundantly and serve without hesitation.” (source)
“The concept of an inactive church member is an oxymoron. Biblically, no such church member really exists.” (source)
“You have a responsibility as a church member. You are to be a source of unity. You are never to be a divisive force. You are to love your fellow church members unconditionally. And while that doesn’t mean you agree with everyone all the time, it does mean you are willing to sacrifice your own preferences to keep unity in your church.” (source)
“Second, if someone in the church begins to share gossip with you, gently rebuke him or her.” (source)
“For them, membership is about receiving instead of giving, being served instead of serving, rights instead of responsibilities, and entitlements instead of sacrifices. This wrongful view of membership sees the tithes and offerings as membership dues that entitle members to a never-ending list of privileges and expectations, instead of an unconditional cheerful gift to God.” (source)
One of the great privileges of my life is to pastor a local congregation of saints. Over the last decade I have seen first hand the fruits of those who understand the content of this book and don't just go to a church but belong to one. Dr. Rainer has served us all well in this book. He has wrung from the scriptures God's commands concerning the fullness of life found in Christ among his people in covenant faithfulness. If you love your church, are frustrated with your church, or don't understand why membership matters, I encourage you to pick this book up and read it.
Matt Chandler, Senior Pastor, The Village Church
I am a Church Member is a great resource for both church leaders and church members. In a world obsessed with consumerism Dr. Rainer shows that, as a biblical church member, I am called to a greater commitment. I recommend that any church that takes belonging seriously consider giving a copy to every member.
Geoff Surratt, Managing Director, Exponential
As a church member I have the privilege to unite with the body of Christ in making an eternal difference through my giftedness in His service. Church membership is an honor, privilege, and joy. Where would I be without the fellowship, encouragement, and edifying of the church? I am so thankful to Thom Rainer for making that reality come alive in this book!
Johnny Hunt, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia
Thom S. Rainer (born July 16, 1955) is an American author, researcher, speaker, and current president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tenn. He is the author of several books, including Simple Church, named a Church & Ministry bestseller by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association and the 2007 Christianity Today Book Award winner in the Church/Pastoral Leadership category.