I just finished reading a little book called, "What Is A Healthy Church Memeber?" by Thabiti M. Anyabwile and published by Crossway.
Let me first say that I believe every church member should read this book. Too many people see joining a church the same as joining a club, or civic organization, and nothing could be further from the truth.
I also believe that if every church member would read this book, and apply what is found in it's pages, we would have not only healthy church members, but as a result, healthy churches.
Imagine a church that stood for truth, preached the gospel, cared for one another and those without Christ, supported the pastor instead of working against him, understood tithing, disicpleship, prayer, the need for discipline and for genuine salvation. We would once again be like the church in the book of Acts, "turning the world upside down" with the truth that has been entrusted to us.
My only complaint is to be found in the chapter, "A Healthy Church Member Is A Committed Member". Now, I agree with the statement that the chapter makes, but in this chapter the author attempts to explain why you should join a local church, and in doing so, he comes across very "baptistic"....which he would seeing as he is a pastor of a baptist church. Now I don't say this in a derogatroy way, as I too am a pastor of a baptist church. What I am trying to say is that unless you have a baptist background, or the background of another church that teaches church membership, I don't think the arguments for church membership in this chapter are all that convincing.
The reason I say that is that we have had a lot of people come to our church that don't believe in joining a church. Some have done so because we require anyone who holds an office to be a member of the church, but many have not. In our membership class I have used the same arguments put forth by Mr. Anyabwile in his book, and while some have let me know that they now understand what a church member really is and now agree with joining a church, some still do not see the reason, and have discussed why they beleive what they do.
Now let me be clear here. These are not "fly by night" believers. Most of them come on a more regular basis than many of the members, and give tithes and offerings on a regular basis. Some are graduates of Bible schools, and all have a deep personal relationship with Jesus. But they just don't see joining a church as a biblical concept.
I'm just curious is anyone else has come across this issue, and if so, I would welcome feedback on how you dealt with this issue.
In the meantime, go out and get this book. Share it with your brothers and sisters. See what they think. I'm thinking of using the book to teach a series of lessons at our midweek service. If you pick it up and read it, let me know what you think. It's a short book, only 120 pages, including the appendix.
That's all for now,