I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is Dr. Thom Rainer’s book, I Will: Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian.
For those of you who don’t know, Thom Rainer is our president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, led Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, and has authored twenty-four books.
Dr. Rainer wrote I Will as a follow up to his book about being a part of the local church, I Am a Church Member, which addresses what attitude we should have as a biblical and joyous church member. I Will addresses the next critical step of being a part of the body of Christ. It’s a move from a right attitude (“I am”) to right action (“I will”). I believe this book will challenge you and your church to serve Christ, His church, and your community. Below is a section from I Will.
Your attitude determines who you are: I am joyous. I am angry. I am grateful. I am jealous.
Let me return to the opening story in this chapter. This time let me talk about my marriage to Nellie Jo from my own perspective.
Let’s presume I have all the healthy attitudes in place. I love her unconditionally. I focus on her strengths more than her weaknesses. I am grateful for her, for the gift from God that she is to me.
And that’s it.
I never serve her. I never ask her out for a date. I never offer her words of encouragement. I rarely spend time with her.
So what would Nellie Jo think of my good attitudes? She would rightly think they are contrived and insincere. She would doubt my commitment. She would wonder if I am truly committed to our marriage.
Maybe many of you church members do indeed have a good attitude. Maybe you are not in the group that whines, complains, nags, and pouts. Maybe your heart is really in the right place.
So here is my simple question. Is your attitude reflected in your actions? In case you are wondering where I am headed with this question, let me offer you an example.
Several years ago, we considered the most active church members who attended church around three times a week. They might attend a Sunday morning Bible study or a Sunday morning worship service. Others might return for Sunday evening events or Wednesday activities.
Do you know how much that perspective has changed in just a few years? Today, many pundits define an active church member as someone who attends church events or services at least three times a month.
Did you get that? An active church member has been re-defined from three times a week to three times a month!
I can anticipate potential objections, “Don’t make this matter a legalistic obligation! We don’t need an activity checklist to be close to God!”
I understand. But let me ask you this question. Would your spouse think you are still devoted to him or her if you decided to reduce your time with him or her by 75 percent? That’s what is happening with even some of our most committed church members.
It’s time. It’s time for a decision. It’s time for a church membership revolution. Not because we are legalistically obligated. Not because we equate activities to commitment. But because a great attitude toward your church, the bride of Christ, will result in great actions for her.
Will you join me in this revolution? Will you prayerfully consider giving your life’s all in commitment to Christ through His church? Will you be a part of a movement that will change the world as the body of Christ unites in force with renewed effort and renewed zeal?
It’s time. Christ is calling all church members to forsake self and to serve others for His sake. In doing so, our church becomes our priority and our focus as it was in the New Testament.
Listen carefully to this call of God. Listen to how you can discern your commitment in His church. And when you begin to understand the action plans He has set before you, be prepared to respond with two simple words.
Today, I am giving away 10 copies of I Will. Click here or fill out the form below to enter to win by Thursday, July 9th 12:01 am CST.
You can also purchase a copy at LifeWay.com. It is only $7.99 or $5.00 when you purchase I Will in quantities of 20.