Book Review: I Will by Thom S. Rainer
I recently received a free copy of Thom Rainer's new book I Will! This is a short book dealing with a important topic: church membership. Rainer describes traits that are necessary for a church and its members to be healthy.
Why this book is necessary
Rainer wastes no time getting to the point, "... no church is perfect." (pg. 14) He says it several times throughout the book. This is necessary because both pastors and attenders need to hear this. Pastors need to stop striving for it and attenders need to stop demanding it.
The reason no church is perfect, according to Rainer, is because ... of the people. We all have a tendency to think selfishly, putting our preferences above others needs. Which is why Rainer says, "We shouldn't be surprised when we find imperfections in the churches where we are members." (pg. 98)
The problem is us, we lack commitment. We lack commitment to the well being of others. We lack commitment when things don't go the way we think they should. We lack commitment when we don't get our way.
This book is necessary because it reminds us that our commitment is to Christ. To doing things His way. That means being committed to a local church. That means investing in other's well being instead of looking out for ourselves, while allowing them to do the same for us. That means finding ways to work out differences of preference in constructive ways that benefit all. That means serving in the area God has gifted you. Finally, that means being committed to a church for the long haul, not jumping ship.
Who needs to read this book
I would recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about leaving a church over preference issues. You will never find the perfect church ... because it doesn't exist. Because of this we need to manage our expectations. We do this by: staying, being committed, finding a place to serve, and praying for elders and leaders. God will honor and bless that kind of commitment.
I would also recommend this book to pastors. Invest in those attenders and members who seem to criticize everything you do. Pray for them. Listen to them. It will help you see the church's deficiencies and clarify the church's vision. Stop trying to have to perfect church ... that's not what God has called you to. He has called you to be faithful to His Word and His mission of making disciples. It's ok if your church isn't for everyone.
(All quotes taken from I Will! by Thom Rainer ©2015 by Doulos and published by B&H publishing)
Get your copy here.