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I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  2,448 ratings  ·  397 reviews
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. ...more
Hardcover, 79 pages
Published May 1st 2013 by B Books (first published April 13th 2013)
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May 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ministry
The book I Am a Church Member by Thom S Ranier was disappointing to read, and seems to be more of a sermon than a book. I knew I was in trouble when chapter one started at 30% of the book content on my Kindle! While I found some of the content useful, such as the theory of “church membership vs country club membership,” I found most of the content very one-sided. The blame was placed on the church member throughout the book, each chapter asking the attendee to commit to change. Ranier writes “ni ...more
Rachel B
May 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
Though the information in this book isn't wrong, per se, it's incomplete and unbalanced.

Rainer says: "You are [in your local church] to meet the needs of others. You are there to serve others. You are there to give. You are there to sacrifice. Get the picture?" (p 34)

While at first glance that might sound biblical, the Bible, in fact, uses one-another terminology to describe what we "should" be doing in the Church body. "Love one another, forgive one another, serve one another..." As in, our ch
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
I recommend a lot of books, but I believe this book needs to become required reading in “new membership” classes or meetings. This small hardback book has six chapters which cover what a church member’s responsibilities are to their church. I have been a church member all my life, I became a Christian and was baptized in 3rd grade, but even though I grew up knowing all these responsibilities it was eye opening and refreshing to read this short book by Rainer. Rainer is someone who, when he speak ...more
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is a tale of three books, and which book you read is all a matter of perspective.

Perspective #1: This perspective is illustrated by the 7 full pages of quotes from "professional" ministers recommending the book. These people work in the church all the time, and see the limitations and deficiencies of its membership clearly. They find this book encouraging and approachable because it is short, to the point, and adherence to it's principles by all members would make their job of leading much
Aug 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: finished-2013
This book is typical, legalistic church doctrine, telling the parishioner in order to be a "good Christian" you need to give the church you attend total control of your life. The Biblical references are weak, oftentimes taking one passage out of context to prove the author's points. The points on how to get along are good, no gossip, no complaining, forgiveness etc, but the rest of the book works on shaming the Christian into believing that your loyalty, money and time all belong to your church ...more
Elizabeth Johnson
A helpful - and short! - reminder of what church membership really involves. It only took me about an hour to read, but it contained so much truth about the individual's responsibility to care for others with their local church. Even as a lifelong church member, there were some aspects I'd never really considered - like chapter 5's exhortation to lead your family to healthy church membership - and found other chapters a useful and timely reminder of my responsibilities to pray for the church lea ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A simple read jam-packed with some practical, powerful + sweet reminders! As Christ as the bridegroom and the church as the bride, I love how Rainer illustrates how to love the bride well, with unwavering and unconditional love.
May 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: religious
A small primer on church membership, geared towards opening the eyes of those that view the church as another institution in place to gratify the hearers. While this book has the right intent to wake the congregation out of complacency, I personally felt that it missed the mark for where I find myself. There is a strong and rightful emphasis on service, but I wished the book had a little more balance on the fact that we should still expect to be blessed by the church (not necessarily the pastor) ...more
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This small booklet is the most relevant title for churches I've read so far this year. I read it a couple of years ago, and read it again today. It's a very quick read (took me about 20 minutes), and is full of pertinent, Biblical truth for all church members. Every church would be much stronger if all members read it, then signed the pledge. It has the potential to change the course not only of lives, but of congregations. It's one of Dr. Rainer's best.
Doug Francis
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read. Would recommend to any church member or leader.
Noah W
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
My mentor selected this book for me to read and discuss later as this was one of our churches' recommended resources.

The main idea of I Am a Church Member is to encourage believers to become committed members of a local church and serve that church.

The enemy: The author seeks to refute "country club church" mentality that many Christians take when attending a church.

Here is a list of commitments(& chapter titles) that Rainer proposes in the book and my take on them:

I will be a functioning chur
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the first book by Thom Rainer that I have read. In what I have discovered about him in general, but as a result of following his blog in particular, I have developed quite a bit of respect for him. His latest did not disappoint.

Published on April 14, 2013, I Am A Church Member is available in Kindle e-book or hardcover versions and it is just under 100 pages long. I read the book in Kindle form in less than 2 hours. It is easy to read, digest and sensitively but unashamedly addresses iss
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished-2013
This is a short book. This may be a little off putting to some folks as to whether or not they should purchase it. It is also a simple read. This may also be a deterrent.

Simply put though...Read this book!

Yes, it short, yes it is simple, but immediately after reading this book, I said to myself, "I want everyone in my congregation to read this book!" I am thinking of placing his steps for congregational healthiness at the forefront of our next council meeting. They are easy and simple guideline
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great little book. We need to encourage our church members to be more than pew sitters and this book will encourage that.
Isaac Hicks
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nice quick read defining biblical church membership.
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I hesitate to say this should be required reading but I do think it is a book that one should give serious consideration to reading. It opens with A Tale Of Two Church Members and moves on to six steps to seriously and prayerfully consider with regards to what kind of member do you want to be in the church. I highly recommend it.
Lauren Fee
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an encouraged read for individuals going through membership at our new church. It’s a super quick read that focuses on the attitudes that members should have concerning their membership in a local church. We should not view this membership like a country club membership, but as a an opportunity to make ourselves low like Christ made himself low in washing the disciples feet. We are members to serve as Christ served. I didn’t find anything new here, but it was a good heart check and remi ...more
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a great way to articulate the commitment the church member is making. The theme of servanthood is woven throughout, and the fact that we are each a part of the body (1 Corinthians 12) is emphasized.

It is a very quick read, not terribly deep, a manifesto. I thought the arguments for why church membership is necessary and biblical were weak.
Misty Althouse
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Took less than 2 hours to read but packed with info. Every member of the church should read.
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
My church used this as small group studies (over Zoom) over the last several weeks. It's short, and Rainer challenges church members to change their approach to membership. Being part of the body is about serving, not being served. Building unity means refusing to gossip and foregoing criticism about minor preferential issues. The second half of the book deals with how loving the church means praying for the leadership, leading others (our families) by example, and recognizing membership in a lo ...more
Ashley Blankenship
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! Highly recommend it to every church member!
Tiffany Forbush
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am a CHURCH member and I am in this to serve other's and to serve Christ! Anyone wanting to know what it's like to be a Pastor or in a key role in minstry should read this book. I wish it was longer and had some more stories about what Pastor's face on a day to day basis.
R.J. Gilbert
Oct 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Why is it that, if a “Christian” book about divisions in the church has made it the long road from writer’s desk to printing press—through that vicious gauntlet of submissions editors, corporate fad surfers, and sales projection analysts who keep so many manuscripts from ever making it to the printing press (unless the writers publish independently)—the book is going to be one to favor the pastor and put blame for a church’s problems on rebellious or apathetic members within the body? Why is it ...more
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nf-spiritual
This is a jewel of a book: small in size but priceless in its simple, powerful message for anyone who cares about the well-being of Christian congregations in the world today and who genuinely wants to be a more effective church member. Without being overly preachy or self-righteous, Rainer takes the reader step-by-step through a biblical depiction of what it means to be a church member. For each lesson, he cites supporting scripture, gives real-world examples, and offers action steps and a pers ...more
Bluerose's  Heart
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
For such a short book(79 pages), it's a pretty powerful one. The main point of the book is to stress the importance of keeping a Christian attitude towards the church. As much as I hate to admit, I don't always have the best attitude. I think we can all say that! We're all selfish, imperfect beings. This was a book I needed to read, though.

"Each local church is made up of imperfect members and imperfect pastors. We will make mistakes. We will all sin. Yes, we are all hypocrites."

The main points
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
In I Am a Church Member, Thom Rainer presents six major attitudes that help church members become what God has called them to be. This short work is easy-to-read, powerfully challenging, and on-point as it calls for Christians to make solid commitments to the local church and her leadership.

Readers who take Rainer’s call seriously will be challenged to change their attitudes toward the church. The author reminds us that the Bible calls us to be self-sacrificial toward those in our church famil
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-life
The best thing about this book is that it exists. It's a simple, practical, straight-forward call for Christians to adopt a biblical view of being part of their church. Rainer calls people to commit to being regular, not causing disunity, not focusing on individual preferences, praying for the leaders and serving as a family. The unwaveringly positive attitude towards church leadership seems a little unreal (is this my Australian cynicism showing?), but I suppose that's because the point of the ...more
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
GREAT book for church members and leaders alike! I think anyone who is a participating member of a church should read this. It is humbling but encouraging as well. In a "me-centered" culture, it is easy to carry that mindset into the church, where Thom Rainer says we act as though the church is a country club serving US. Biblically speaking, being a member of the church is being a member of the BODY of Christ--each member does its part. I hope to do mine in whatever church God allows me to be a ...more
Becky Baylous
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"As a church member, I am not merely to like my church or serve my church well. I am to fall deeply in love with my church. Christ is the bridegroom, and the church is the bride. My commitment is to love that bride with an unwavering and unconditional love. Unconditional love is not always easy. If someone is perfect and meets our every perceived need, it's easy to think we love that person. But such love is a one-way. It's all about me and my needs. Unconditional love means I will continue to f ...more
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a great book explaining the Biblical attitude of a church member. It's designed to be a light easy read to walk church members through, and I plan to use it as such! The points given are mostly backed up by some GREAT scripture references and also some great statistical data.

I did have a few missing expectations I wish I would have seen. Overall I would like more of a systematic approach to ecclesiology than a story narrative format. I would have liked the author to expound on the differ
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Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Prior to LifeWay, he 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 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.

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50 likes · 22 comments
“If outside forces and culture were the reasons behind declining and non-influential churches, we would likely have no churches today. The greatest periods of growth, particularly the first-century growth, took place in adversarial cultures. We are not hindered by external forces; we are hindered by our own lack of commitment and selflessness.” 6 likes
“I am suggesting that congregations across America are weak because many of us church members have lost the biblical understanding of what it means to be a part of the body of Christ.” 1 likes
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