I Am A Church Member: Book Review

This book is small, but its content is extremely practical and convictional. In Tom S. Rainer’s book, I am a Church Member he challenges readers to search out their hearts and ask questions that are intensely personal about one’s membership to their Church. One common question that people are asking in their Church appears in some form of, “why is my Church failing?” This he argues, is a result of the members of the Church inability to see that they themselves are actually the one’s failing the Church. The Church is made up of a body of believers, and in today’s world the majority of people tend to think that Church membership is about them, and their rights. Tom S. Rainer calls it, “the country club mentality.” It is the idea that once one has paid their dues, they are immediately entitled to do what they want. They are entitled with an uncompromising I, and say, “I have served here for this long, I do not like this, I would rather do it like this,” and so on and on. In his book, however, Tom S. Rainer flips this idea on its head, and shows that as a member, one is functioning in the context of a body much greater then themselves. Church membership means one “Give[s] abundantly and serve[s] without hesitation . . . [giving] without qualification . . . [they] view tithes and offerings as joyous giving (14-15).” The Church is not a club he insists but it is a place where one’s involvement determines the success and well being of the Church as a whole.

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This is just one of the many ideas that the author uproots. He goes on further to add that members are to be unifiers and not the cause of division. Church members are functioning properly when they are encouraging, and building up the Church, not breaking it down. They are servants to each other by giving endlessly, and caring for each other by praying for the leaders and other members. Moreover, a church member gives up their own personal ambitions for the unity of the whole by being of the same mind. Finally, Rainer concludes by showing that Church membership cannot be bought, but that it is a gift. A gift that God the Father provided through his Son Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for this reason: to give his entire ministry in obedience to the Father in order that humanity could be in a right relationship with him. Once one has seen the value of Church membership in view of this, it is imperative for that person to function the way that Christ did, in complete submission to the Father and His will, and not our own.

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