Monday, 28 June 2010

What is a Healthy Church Member?

What is a Healthy Church Member? is a little book from 9marks, by Thabiti M Anyabwile (his blog) that looks at what an effective church member looks like. It is broken up into ten short chapters that look at one characteristic of what a good Church member would have. I found this breakup to be too small and think there really could have been less chapters.

There could have been one chapter on the Bible, in that a good Church member would know the Bible, seek to learn from it and tell others what is in there. Instead chapter 1 encourages the member to attentively listen to the weekly sermon; chapter 2 encourages them to know biblical theology; chapter 3 wants a member to know what the Gospel is; and chapter 5 wants the member to be able to tell the Gospel to others. Also the 4th point of the book is that a healthy Church member is a Christian, which I would have said in the introduction that this is the main, fundamental assumption before even starting the book.

There could have been one chapter on how a healthy Church member is involved in their Church and respecters the people in leadership there. Instead there are 4 chapters on how a member is to be committed to the Church; seeks discipline; seeks humility and wants to grow in their Christian walk.

Despite my feelings that the book moved too slow, overall I agree with pretty much everything it said. Even though it is a small book it has lots of Bible verses to back up almost everything that was said. One interesting thing I learned was with Church discipline, Thabiti defined that as being both formative and corrective, making it about education and learning and so most of the time Church discipline in this sense is a positive thing. At the end of each short chapter there are some reflection questions that could come in handy if your plan on looking at this book with others (like a one-on-one meet up or in a Bible study).

I really would have liked a chapter on how a healthy Church member doesn't marry the Church, but should also be involved in the local community, helping others in need. The last chapter did talk about how the book is not to be taken so individualistic but in community the Church as a body is to grow, but I would have liked something to say that a healthy Church member is to be salt or light for the world (Matt 5:13-16), and seek justice for the down and outs (Isa 1:16-17) or to do good to others (Gal 6:10). (maybe I am too left wing).

I would lend this book out to others, with the same comments I have said above: that it moves a bit too slow, doesn't talk about helping the wider community, but it is instructive and helpful to regular Church members who see an importance in attending their local Church.

You can read the first 22 pages here.


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