Best-selling author and ministry leader Thom S. Rainer drew an exceptional response when he posted a 500-word declaration about church membership to his daily blog. "I Am a Church Member" started a conversation about the attitudes and responsibilities of church members -- rather than the functional and theological issues -- that previous new member primers all but ignored.
Thoughtfully expanded to book form, I Am a Church Member begins to remedy the outbreak of inactive or barely committed church members, addressing without apology what is expected of those who join a body of believers. When a person's attitude is consistently biblical and healthy, matters of giving, serving, and so forth will fall into place more naturally.
Six intentional chapters with study questions guide this rising discussion:
1. I Will Be a Unifying Church Member
2. I Will Not Let the Church Be About My Preferences and Desires
3. I Will Pray for My Church Leaders
4. I Will Lead My Family to Be Healthy Church Members
5. I Will Be a Functioning Member
6. I Will Treasure Church Membership as a Gift
About the Author
Thom S. Rainer is the founder and CEO of Church Answers. Prior to Church Answers, he served as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. He also served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism. He has been a pastor of four churches and interim pastor of ten churches. He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Rainer has written over 30 books, including three that reached number one bestseller: I Am a Church Member, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, and Simple Church.
He has spoken in hundreds of venues and led over 500 church consultations. He can be reached at www.ChurchAnswers.com.
Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, live in Franklin, TN, and have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel respectively. The Rainers have ten grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, Bren, Joshua, Collins, Joel, and James.
One of the great privileges of my life is to pastor a local congregation of saints. Over the last decade I have seen first hand the fruits of those who understand the content of this book and don't just go to a church but belong to one. Dr. Rainer has served us all well in this book. He has wrung from the scriptures God's commands concerning the fullness of life found in Christ among his people in covenant faithfulness. 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. Matt ChandlerSenior Pastor, The Village Church
I am a Church Member is a great resource for both church leaders and church members. In a world obsessed with consumerism Dr. Rainer shows that, as a biblical church member, I am called to a greater commitment. I recommend that any church that takes belonging seriously consider giving a copy to every member. Geoff SurrattManaging Director, Exponential As a church member I have the privilege to unite with the body of Christ in making an eternal difference through my giftedness in His service. Church membership is an honor, privilege, and joy. Where would I be without the fellowship, encouragement, and edifying of the church? I am so thankful to Thom Rainer for making that reality come alive in this book! Johnny HuntPastor, First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia So much ink has been spilled to critique the church that it has almost become sport. Yet, I am confident that you cannot love Jesus and despise His wife, the Bride of Christ. Here, Thom Rainer offers a positive vision of healthy church membership and deep value for the Bride of Christ. There's a deficit of books like the one in your hands, a rare treasure for a generation deeply in need of a compelling vision for this community called church." Ed Stetzer,
Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College Church membership is the shape of Christian discipleship. Wise, simple and sweet, practical and even piercing--this brief volume, if read and digested, helps us to follow Christ. It comes complete with questions to be considered and pledges to be made. Thom Rainer has written a book to instruct new members and to remind long-time members that true discipleship may sometimes be heroic; it must always be humble." Mark Dever
Senior Pastor, The Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DCPresident, 9Marks According to Thom Rainer, Church membership doesn’t simply have privileges, it isa privilege. And I couldn’t agree more. In I Am A Church Member Thom delivers a biblical perspective and practical approach to church membership. This little book is both refreshing and inspirational. I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend you pick it up! Andy StanleyNorth Point Ministries For many years, the Lord has used Thom Rainer to encourage and challenge church leaders to be evangelistic, raise expectations, design a discipleship process, reach millenials, etc. And the Church has benefited. Now, the Lord will use this helpful book to encourage church members to discover or rediscover the privilege and responsibility of belonging to a local church. And the Church will benefit. Eric GeigerSenior Pastor, Mariners Church There are scores of books on what it means to be a good pastor of a church. The same cannot be said for books on what it means to be a good member of a church. Thom Rainer helps cure the latter malady in this brief work that is biblical, simple and practical. This book is an easy read. It is also a convicting read. And, it is greatly needed when so many who attend church have a "what can I get" mentality rather than a "what can I give" mindset. This book will serve the body of Christ well. Daniel L. AkinPresident, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Thom Rainer, with this incredibly valuable little book, has once again demonstrated why he is considered a leader among church leaders. Though small in size, this insightful resource has the potential to bring about big results, helping to guide individuals and churches toward much-needed changes in how we all think about what is really involved in becoming a faithful church member. These thoughtful reflections, together with the illuminating and applicable responses, will serve as trustworthy steps toward health, renewal, and revitalization for congregations of all sizes. David S. DockeryPresident, Trinity International University Thom Rainer has created a profound and practical resource to help two generations of Christians - those who have become too comfortable and even apathetic in the church and those of my generation who are inclined to abandon it altogether. For those, like me, who have grown up in the church this is a pointed and necessary reminder of what it means to be a church member, and for those who are new to church it is a concise primer on the joy and life found in committing to a local church. I highly recommend this deep but uncomplicated book to any believer. Barnabas Piper
Author, The Curious Christian and The Pastor's Kid Thomas Rainer has tapped into a significant challenge in today’s church that is experiencing a decline in church attendance and membership. I Am a Church Member focuses on the priority that all followers of Jesus Christ should emphasize and that is to serve Him by serving others based on the Biblical instruction set forth in Scripture. “Now [we] are the body of Christ and individual members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). Thom has masterfully outlined how we should function within the context of the apostles’ teaching and gives us pause to consider just how we should relate to others within the local church—Christ’s words are to individuals that collectively make up the body of Christ. His work takes root in each individual heart. Franklin GrahamPresident & CEOSamaritan’s PurseBilly Graham Evangelistic Association The Church is the only bride of Christ. The Church is the only plan of God to reach the world and it is the only organization that will last forever! The Church (with a Big C) is only as strong as its local churches around the world. In a day of church decline and stagnation, it appears as if the church of today looks nothing like the church of the Bible. I believe when church members around the world get a clear picture of what the Bible has to say about their relationship with their church--it will change the world!Thom Rainer has done it again. He has written a book that will advance the Church and therefore advance the Kingdom of God. It is a must read for all church members everywhere. Dr. Alex HimayaFounding and Senior PastorTheChurch.at (BattleCreek/ Midtown), Tulsa, OK Timely. Needed. Powerful. Simple. Clear. Biblical. This book needs to be read by every Pastor and church member globally. Find a way to get it to every Christ-follower. I will do all I can to do it in my church. Thank you for calling us back to the Bible! Dr. Ronnie Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church, Northwest Arkansas