Two years ago I released a book called I Am a Church Member. I’ve been blown away with the response; sales are about to reach one million books. One of the more frequent question readers have asked me is: “Do you think the term ‘church member’ is still relevant?”
My simple response is, “Yes I do.” In fact, I have seven reasons why I emphatically believe churches should never let go of this descriptor.
1. It is biblical.
One of the best descriptions of church membership is in 1 Corinthians 12. The Apostle Paul specifically uses the term “member” at several points in the chapter. For example, in 1 Corinthians 12: 27, he says: “Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.”
2. It is a perfect metaphor for belonging.
Read the same chapter, specifically verses 15 to 20. Look how many times Paul uses the word “belong.” To be a member of the body of Christ, the church, is to belong to an incredible gift given to us by God.
3. It is a perfect metaphor for contributing.
As Paul describes the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12, he highlights the diversity of gifts of the members, and emphasizes the absolute mandate for every member to function and contribute. There is no place in the church for non-contributing members.
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Dr. Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.