This Book Changed My Life 10 Years Ago

It was ten years ago that I did something I had never done before. I turned a short blog post into a book. Much to my joy and surprise, the book became one of the bestsellers in its genre. It stayed at number one on the bestselling list for quite a while. 

Now, nearly two million book sales later, I look back and thank God for what He did. The little book was called I Am a Church Member. It continues to be widely used today. I have been blessed to hear from thousands of church leaders and church members that this book has changed their lives. I know it has changed mine.

The short blog post that became the impetus for the book had the same title. Today, on the 10th anniversary of the release of I Am a Church Member, I thank God for His blessings and for taking that book to move churches toward greater health and church members toward greater commitment. 

Here is the original blog post that began it all:

I am a church member.

I will seek to be a source of unity in the church. I know there are no perfect pastors, staff, or other church members. But neither am I. I will not be a source of gossip or dissension. One of the greatest contributions I can make is to do all I can in God’s power to help keep the church in unity for the sake of the gospel.

I am a church member. 

I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires. That is self-serving. I am in this church to serve others and to serve Christ. My Savior went to a cross for me. I can deal with any inconveniences and matters that are just not my preference or style. 

I am a church member.

I will pray for my pastor every day. His work is never-ending. His days are filled with constant demands for his time; with the need to prepare sermons; with those who are rejoicing in births; with those who are traveling through the valley of the shadow of death; with critics; with the hurts and hopes of others; and with the need to be a husband and a father. My pastor cannot serve our church in his own power. I will pray for God’s strength for him and his family every day. 

I am a church member. 

I like the metaphor of membership. It’s not membership as in a civic organization or a country club. It’s the kind of membership given to us in 1 Corinthians 12: “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part  of it” (I Corinthians 12:27). Because I am a member of the body of Christ, I must be a functioning member, whether I am an “eye,” an “ear,” or a “hand.” As a functioning member, I will give. I will serve. I will minister. I will evangelize. I will study. I will seek to be a blessing to others. I will remember that “if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad” (1 Corinthians 12:26). 

I am a church member. 

I will lead my family to be good members of this church as well. We will pray together for our church. We will worship together in our church. We will serve together in our church. And we will ask Christ to help us fall deeper in love with this church, because He gave His life for her. 

I am a church member. 

This membership is a gift. When I received the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, I became a part of the body of Christ. I soon thereafter identified with a local body and was baptized. And now I am humbled and honored to serve and to love others in our church. I pray that I will never take my membership for granted, but see it as a gift and an opportunity to serve others, and to be a part of something so much greater than any one person or member. 

I am a church member. 

And I thank God that I am.

Posted on June 26, 2023

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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