Thom S. Rainer. I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference. Nashville: B&H Books, 2013. 96 pp. $8.99.
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 family, not to seek our own good ahead of others (cf. Philippians 2:1-4). The book also challenges Christians to commit themselves to work toward church unity, to pray for their leaders, and to basically change their understanding of church from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?”
The only weaknesses that I spotted in a swift read through this short work involved principles that Rainer brought forth, but did not have time to explain in the kind of detail that such important issues may require. For example, in the chapter on unity, Rainer calls on church members to be forgiving for the sake of unity. However, Rainer does not have the space to really dig deep into the nuances of when forgiveness is required and when, as Chris Brauns presents in Unpacking Forgiveness, it may be impossible to complete. However, this criticism on my part is hardly fair since Brauns took over two-hundred pages to dig into this important issue. However, it is worth pointing out that someone who is really wrestling with forgiveness relating to deep hurts and complex issues might find the few paragraphs on forgiveness as very unsatisfying.
With that tiny criticism noted, I would highly recommend I Am a Church Member to any pastor, church member, or potential church member. This book would be a great part of any church’s new member class. Rainer has done an excellent job of calling Christians to take their commitment to the church seriously.