Reposting this review because the Kindle edition is on sale for $0.99.
Summary: Short discussion oriented book about what being a church member really is all about.
Someone at Rainer’s publisher has been paying attention to the blogosphere. I Am a Church Member (on sale last week) is a good response to Rachel Held Evans CNN post of two weeks ago.
This is not the only good response, but it is a one method of responding. Evans, I believe, was trying to describe her desires for the church based on her frustrations with the dysfunction of the church. (I don’t think she was trying to ‘demand’ that the church change to fit her desires as some have charged.)
Thom Rainer instead is trying to start with a healthy church and discuss what it means to be a good church member to that healthy church.
The real focus of the book is six pledges that Rainer presents as an ideal for a church member to accept. These assume an active, and local, church experience. This is a common style of quote:
“We who are church members are all supposed to function in the church. The concept of an inactive church member is an oxymoron. Biblically, no such church member really exists.”
I have a real complaint about book because it focuses so strongly on the local church that it almost seems that there is no a universal church. When it talks about working in the church there is no concept of working ecumenically with other churches or working with parachurch or other organizations that are also fulfilling the mission of the church universal but may not affect the church local.
But with this caveat, I think that most of the book is right. The church is not about a building, or about a ‘country club’ membership focused on what the church does for you. Instead it is about participating with a group of people that bound together by something more than needs.
The six pledges are to be functioning, unifying, not focused on yourself, to pray for the church and leadership, to lead your own family and treasure the church as a gift.
Because this is such a short book, 96 pages with lots of discussion questions, I am more than happy to encourage you to buy and read it when it was $0.99 on kindle (as when I bought it). But at it standard price of $9.39 it is too expensive to recommend.
I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference by Thom S. Rainer Purchase Links: Hardcover, Kindle Edition, Audible.com Audiobook – my kindle version is lendable if you want to borrow it. Leave a message below in the comments if you would like to borrow it.