How does your congregation define church membership? In his new book (inspired by a blog post he wrote), I Am A Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes a Difference, author Thom Rainer exposes the prevalent attitude of consumerism held by many church members looking for a “country club” experience. They consume programs and resources while expecting a return on their investment here and now. The book strongly states that the church is losing ground and it is because church members don’t have a biblical understanding of membership.
As a result of years of research and experience, Rainer uncovers six attitudes of healthy church members and gently leads the reader through a practical discovery of what Scripture says about church membership. He also predicts that if members embrace these attitudes, the church will grow stronger and increase its impact on its community and the world. In a short 80-page book, he unpacks the attitudes of a healthy church member.
Those attitudes are (along with my own one-sentence summary):
- I will be a functioning church member: The church is a unified body made up of many parts. All parts must function in their role or the church becomes weak.
- I will be a unifying church member: Unity is every church members’ responsibility. Gossip and unforgiveness break down unity.
- I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires: Church membership is about servanthood.
- I will pray for my church leaders: Without ongoing prayer for leaders by church members, our churches will not be healthy.
- I will lead my family to be healthy church members: Show your children and spouse how to love the church unconditionally.
- I will treasure church membership as a gift: When we view membership as a gift, our sense of entitlement fades.
This book is a great complement to any church membership process. The length, language and pace of the book make it simple for people at any level of faith to understand and apply. It includes a pledge at the end of each chapter and a set of discussion questions to aid small group dialog.
It’s refreshing to read a book that focuses on attitudes to embrace that are fueled by biblical faith and belief. The reader isn’t left with things to check off or overwhelmed by additional membership responsibilities.
The book forces church leaders to review current membership processes. What are we focusing on in our membership systems? Have we made membership too difficult? Too simple? Would our churches be better off abandoning member responsibilities in favor of embracing attitudes? Obviously, membership is going to look different church to church, but the systems we put in place for membership teach members how to behave. What type of members is your system producing? This book just may open your eyes to shifting your focus in your membership process.
Note: The Kindle version is only $1 today only (July 30)