Meaningful Church Membership for the Members

I know that the issue of regenerate church membership has primarily been a discussion among ministers, seminarians, and the rest of academia, but I want to speak to the layperson for a moment. You. Yes, you out there who is not a minister but cares about the church and has a great desire to see churches become healthy and experiencing biblical church growth. While there are some excellent resources that are more academic and make great cases for meaningful or regenerate church membership, I want to highlight six books for your consideration as a layperson with the hope that maybe one (or more) of them worth reading yourself.

They are:

1. Life in the Body of Christ: Privileges and Responsibilities in the Local Church by Curtis C. Thomas.

2. Life in the Father’s House: A Member’s Guide to the Local Church by Wayne A. Mack and Dave Swavely.

3. Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God by Joshua Harris.

4. What Is a Healthy Church? by Mark Dever.

5. Spiritual Disciplines within the Church: Participating Fully in the Body of Christ by Donald Whitney.

6. Membership Matters: Insights from Effective Churches on New Member Classes and Assimilation by Chuck Lawless.

All of these books are affordable (roughly around $10 per book), and all of them would be worth your time to read, especially if you are interested in more than a discussion on meaningful church membership but want to be the kind of member who knows, understands, and practices it in your own local congregation.

Each of these books have their strengths and weakness as well as unique style and format, but they all address the single issue of what it means to be committed to your church as a faithful, devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, because membership is considered entry level in the process of discipleship, it is often overlooked or glossed over; yet, I am convinced that if we gain a better understanding of church membership and apply the covenant nature of our corporate identity as believers united to Christ and committed to one another, then the goal of developing healthy churches will have firm footing.

If there are other books, articles, or websites that you have found helpful that you would like to pass along to others, feel free to include them in the comments section. Let us work together that we might give ourselves to the health and well-being of our churches and the members who comprise them.

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3 Comments on “Meaningful Church Membership for the Members”

  1. The Wanderer Says:

    Insofar as I know these books (I haven’t read them all), a good list. Like the other suggestions above, the following isn’t the final word by any means, but “The Church Member’s Guide” by John Angell James (an older book recently republished by Solid Ground Christian Books) has a great deal of excellent material in it. Chapters are on the nature of the church, the nature and design of church fellowship, the privileges of membership, general duties of individual members, duties of members to pastors, duties of members to each other, duties to other members of other Christian groups, duties with regard to the particular character and calling of each member (e.g. officer-bearers, family members, rich and poor), and then a chapter covering a variety of miscellaneous matters.

  2. Thanks for passing that info along Wanderer.

    For those interested in checking out the book The Church Member’s Guide by John Angell James, you can find it by going here:

  3. […] little book is the third in a series produced by IX Marks in conjunction with Crossway Books.  While there are several good books out which speak to church life and a member’s meaningful participation therein, this […]

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