Saturday, November 4, 2017

I Will – Thom S. Rainer

©2015  B&H Publishing Group, Nashville

Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Since taking that position, Rainer has made a point of developing books that are helpful to the local church leader and the local church member be better at church. Books like Simple Church (co-written with Eric Geiger), I Am a Church Member, and Autopsy of a Deceased Church [all published by B & H]. This book is no exception.

In the same vein of Church Member and Autopsy, I Will is a small volume that reads well and gives sound advice on how church members can be the best church members they can be. Whereas I Am a Church Member deals with the actions of a church member who makes a difference, I Will addresses the attitudes that lead church members into joyous church membership. Within its pages, Rainer dispenses advice on removing selfish “I want” attitudes and replacing them with outward focused “I will” ones.

Rainer takes a page from his son’s book on financial decisions (Art Rainer, The Money Challenge, reviewed here) by introducing his topic with a fictional story that could be anybody’s story—it could be your story if you are finding yourself burdened by church. Perhaps the answer is not jumping ship on the church where you are, but adjusting your attitude. Here are the nine traits that the author identifies in an “outwardly focused Christian”:

  1. Moving from an “I Am” to an “I Will” attitude – finding biblical solutions to attitudinal issues.
  2. Worshiping with others – stop trying to go it alone.
  3. Growing with others – get into a small group where people know, love, and encourage spiritual growth.
  4. Serving – instead of expecting others to serve me.
  5. Going – taking the love of God with me everywhere.
  6. Generous giving – everything belongs to God anyway.
  7. Perseverance – don’t drop out of church because it gets difficult or I don’t get my way.
  8. Avoiding “Churchianity” – playing at church instead of being the church.
  9. Making a difference – look for ways to advance the Kingdom of God.

In a culture where cafeteria-style Christianity and church attendance has become the norm, it is time for church members (and all Christians) to develop an attitude adjustment that leads us to looking outside our own shell of contentment in order to strengthen the church and obey her Master.

This little volume may not have the impact of I Am a Church Member, but it certainly hits the mark as a genuine partner work. I give Rainer four out of five reading glasses here.

—Benjamin Potter, November 4, 2017

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