As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
Last Wednesday, I received a very timely e-mail, offering me the opportunity to take a look at a new book from B&H Publishing Group. The book is entitled I AM A CHURCH MEMBER: Discovering the Attitude That Makes the Difference and it’s author is Thom Rainer, CEO of LifeWay.
I say it was a timely e-mail because, for the past 7 weeks, my husband, oldest daughter, and I have been sitting in on a new membership class at the church we’ve been attending for the past year. While I’m not normally quick to review non-fiction books, this one appealed to me as a nice way to wind up our classes.
I received the book on Saturday and read about half of it that afternoon, then finished my reading during my quiet time on Sunday morning.
About the Book
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
Heidi Says . . .
While this book is a short read, it is extremely full of quality content. I was surprised when I first opened the envelope and pulled out the small book. Honestly, being that it is a non-fiction book, I was pleased to see that it wouldn’t take me long to read it (which meant I would actually get through it from start to finish). And, once I started, I didn’t really want to put it down.
While reading through this little book, I felt convicted in many ways. Over the past 21 years, my husband and I have sat through 3 church membership classes and have taken our family to 4 different churches. In the first two churches, we have been very active church members – serving in roles as Sunday School teachers, deacons, youth leaders, women’s ministry coordinator, search committee members, and the list goes on . . .
We were burned in a nasty church split that sent us reeling and seeking refuge in the church of my childhood. We held that church at arms length, not wanting to get too close or too involved, in an attempt to shield our hearts from further hurt. However, after about 3 years, we felt that God was leading us to find a church where we could be used again.
This little book reminded me of what it means to be a church member. Church membership IS a gift, but it’s a gift NOT to be taken lightly! It’s a gift that requires some work and effort on our part. It also requires some attitudes that we are not accustomed to display anymore – attitudes of service, unselfishness, and love.
If you ARE a church member, or you’re CONSIDERING church membership, I would highly recommend this little book. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that churches stock up on this book to share with their members and perspective members. Who knows? Maybe it will start a revival among church members – and, heaven knows, the Unites States could use that!
The Nitty Gritty
I Am a Church Member is a “paper over board” book, released in May 2013, and available from the publisher for $12.99. It’s small enough to tuck in a purse or bag (7″x5″) and short enough to read in one sitting (96 pages). But, it’s rich in content!
Local Friends – if you would like to read this book, I’d be more than happy to share!