If you claim the label “Christian” then you pretty much need to read I Am a Church Member. That’s what it boils down to.
I realize that the above statement is an awfully bold one and assumes a great deal. But here’s the thing: Christians are called and are taught to belong to a part of the Body of Christ, which is the church. And, let’s face it, being a part of the church can be a painful thing. After all, the church is filled with people. People are producers of pain and there is a wide-spread claim that Christians are more hurtful people than any other group. (I would tend to disagree with that remark as being a false statement and over generalization but I also do not deny that Christians are sinners just as much as anyone else and in their sin they hurt others, just like everyone else does. We are not better than others in our ability to behave well. We fail miserably. But apologizing for every Christian action that hurt you is not what I am here to do at the present. Mostly I am here to address the Christian reading this post.)
What I Am a Church Member intends to do is to address Christians who are sour on the church and are looking for excuses (or who have already created some) not to commit to any particular body or group of other Christians. Thom S. Rainer likens the modern Christian to a member of a country club in which when dues are adequately paid up, all that’s left to do is enjoy. And if you don’t want to commit to going to the club, you don’t have to. But church, as Rainer also points out, is not a club and he goes about in this very short book explaining what our attitude should be towards belonging to a local church. Although this is a short read, consisting of only seventy nine pages, it packs quite the punch. Rainer is quick to get to his point, which is always valid and both convicts and encourages the Christian to desire belonging to the organization which Jesus created for us to belong to.
I Am a Church Member is laid out as a study book, including review questions at the conclusions of each chapter. You could easily do this book with a group. My opinion is that a good group discussion surrounding this book would be a healthy thing! However, it is also a very quick read alone book, taking me all of one hour to consume.
I’m giving this book five stars not so much because it was enjoyable in the sense of being relaxing. Rather, I think it deserves five stars from the perspective of offering solid food for thought for Christians as they pursue developing their relationship with Jesus Christ and His church. It provides an attitude check and sometimes that is exactly what we need.