Genre: Non-fiction, Church
Rating: 5 Stars for excellent
Barnes and Noble
Christian Book ($5.99)
Thom S. Rainer blog
For more information about book and through Rainer's blog:
I Am A Church Member.
The original blog post which proceeded the book.
"Based on our research of 557 churches from 2004 to 2010, nine out of ten churches in America are declining or growing at a pace that is slower than that of their communities. Simply stated, churches are losing ground in their own backyards. Another way of looking at it is generationally. About two-thirds of the Builder generation, those born before 1946, are Christians. But only 15 percent of the Millennials are Christians. The Millennials are the largest generation in America's history with almost eighty million members. They were born between 1980 and 2000. And we have all but lost that generation."The focus of I Am A Church Member, is to teach the reader what being a church member is all about, why we need each other, and how we are a family and community of believers in support and in serving one another, which gives honor and glory to God.
Six chapters defining what it means to be a church member:
- "I will Be a Functioning Church Member"
- "I will Be a Unifying Church Member"
- "I will Not Let My Church Be about My Preferences and Desires"
- "I will Pray for my Church Leaders"
- "I Will Lead My Family to Be Healthy Church Members"
- "I Will Treasure Church Membership as a Gift"
Chapter one explains, "Everyone has a function. Everyone should be functioning. Everyone should have a role." We should not wait for someone to ask us, we should not ponder if there is a role for us, we should be busy working in a role. Maybe that role is helping to clean up the church. Prayer, is always something we should be doing. Prayer for the pastor, church staff, and members. Pray for those unknown faces who live in the community that need a church family.
A quote that stood out to me, from page 72-73.
"Church membership is a gift. A gift must be treasured. It should not be taken for granted or considered lightly. Because it is a gift, we must always be thankful for it. And when we are thankful for something, we have less time and energy to be negative...Healthy church membership means you find your joy in being last, instead of seeking your way and being first."While reading I Am A Church Member, I looked back over my experiences and memories of the four churches I've been a member of. I reflected on problem people, serious turmoil and conflict among the church staff and members, a church fire, Vacation Bible School, Bible studies, Sunday school, weddings, baptisms, funerals, women's ministry, book club, youth department teacher, women's small group leader, paid church office secretary, nursery worker, pastor search committee, personnel committee, library patron, prayer warrior. I also looked back on incidences when I was verbally abused, taken advantage of, manipulated, and gossiped about. I also looked back on those times when I was the problem. When I took things personally and my wounded ego oozed anger. The problem was me, I shifted all the focus inward. It is very very very easy to walk away from church after being wounded. I fought those urges. I chose Christ.
People are imperfect. I am imperfect. The church is made up of imperfect people. And all of us at some point or at several points, are hypocrites. It's easy to focus on people. The right thing to do is focus on Jesus Christ and in serving Him by loving His people.