Monday, January 25, 2021

I Am a Church Member -- Review


Congratulations to Blanche on the occasion of her 96th birthday this week. I hear that Session sang happy birthday to her over Zoom! What a world. Here's a virtual slice of cake. 

The link for this week's livestreamed service:

I Am a Church Member

 by Thomas S. Rainer



These Covid times and the inability to meet in person for church services had me thinking about church membership and its importance in my life.  So when I was in the Christian book store I couldn’t resist looking at this book.  In fact I sat down and read the first chapter while I was in the store!  It felt like the Holy Spirit was saying read this!


When our church membership does not live up to our expectations we begin the blame game.  We blame it on godless politics, secular culture, uncaring ministers, hypocritical fellow Christians, everyone but ourselves.  What the author of this book suggests is that we join churches expecting others to serve us, to feed us, and to care for us, but we have lost the Biblical understanding of what it means to be a part of the body of Christ.


He says we are being hypocrites.  Hard words!  The good news is that Rainer then goes on to give us a road-map so we can be functioning church members of a vibrant congregation.  The reader is given six tasks to fulfil.  Each task is explained, Biblical references are cited and at the end of the chapter, he asks the reader to sign a pledge saying they will commit to their church.  The tasks are as follows:  

  • 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.


The chapter on each task has stories about how necessary it is to address these aspects of membership.   Rainer begins by exploring Corinthians 13, the love chapter and explains that Paul was talking about us and how we should treat our fellow Christians. In the chapter on the church and our family he talks about how we as believers can affect the non believers in our families.  Some of the chapters tell us things about ourselves that are difficult to hear, especially the chapter on our preferences.


This book was a great read.  It is short, easy to read and important to all church members.  It should be required reading for all Christians who want to be part of a vibrant congregation.

Reviewed by Linda Cliff


The text for this book is available on the internet with appropriate study guides.  We are bound to our homes these days and filling our time can be a challenge.  Why not take the Pledge?

The book can be downloaded for free here , or you can read it on-line at the same url. Various scholars and preachers have offered study guides. Here are a few.

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