This week and next, we have people going through a discussion of what it means to be a church member. It has caused me to ponder the discussions and meaning of what it means to be a Jesus follower who connects with other Jesus followers to live life together and to fulfill our purpose that Jesus calls us to.
We may call it church membership today, but the early church called it being part of the body. In fact, Paul, one of the Apostles of Jesus, spoke of us as being different parts of the same body. Some of us are hands, others may be feet, legs, ears, eyes, and so on.
In our member group discussions, we are going through a book by Thom Rainer called “I am a Church Member.” It is a short and small book, but very concise in describing what being a part of the church “body” looks like. Here is a quick sample by chapter:
Chapter 1: I will be a Functioning Church Member. Here we see being part of the body means you are engaged. Giving, serving, and meeting together, regularly.
Chapter 2: I will be a Unifying Church Member. This means the unity of the body is more important than anything else. It means being forgiving, flexible, and not always having to have it your way and most important, that you do not partake in or allow gossip.
Chapter 3: I will not let my Church be about My preferences and My desires. This one is self-explanatory. Mr. Rainer lays this out excellently.
Chapter 4: I will pray for My Church Leaders. A key chapter. A must read. Are you praying?
Chapter 5: I will Lead my family to be healthy Church members. Key points: Praying together for the church, worshipping together as a family, falling deeply in love with the church as the bride of Jesus.
Chapter 6: I will treasure Church Membership as a gift. I will let you explore this one on your own.
Six short chapters, all excellent. This book is a must read for anyone exploring who Jesus is, trying to decide what it looks like to follow Jesus, or you have been a Jesus follower for years. Here what some others have said about the book.
Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church: “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.”
Dave Ramsey, bestselling author & radio show host: “In I am a Church Member, Thom Rainer reminds us that it is possible to have an effective, unified church body-even if the people in the pews have different opinions.”
Andy Stanley, North Point Ministries: ….refreshing and inspirational. I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend you pick it up!”
We have this book available at River of Life for anyone. Stop by our welcome center on Sunday mornings and pick up your copy. You will soon find yourself engrossed in this great little book.