by Thabiti Anyabwile
There are many books out there talking about the importance of Christians living “in community,” but what does that actually look like? Thabiti Anyabwile unpacks the vital office of church member with biblical insight and practical advice.
In the introduction, Thabiti starts with the question he is trying to answer; “What exactly am I supposed to be doing as a member of this local church?” Thabiti’s goal in writing the book is, “that you might discover or rediscover what it means to be a healthy member of a local church, and what it means to contribute to the overall health of the church.” This goal may sound foreign to Christians that are focused on what the church can do for them. Instead, Thabiti exhorts the church member to consider what the Bible commands them to do for one another. Thabiti divides the book into ten marks of a healthy church member. I’ve listed them below with helpful advice from each chapter.
1. A healthy church member is an expositional listener
- Meditate on the sermon passage during your quiet time
- Talk and pray with friends about the sermon after church
2. A healthy church member is a biblical theologian
- Know and agree to support your church’s statement of faith
- Seek doctrinal unity and avoid needless disputes
3. A healthy church member is gospel saturated
- Know the gospel (Sadly this is often overlooked)
- Share the gospel
- Guard the gospel (The responsibility to guard the gospel does not ultimately fall on pastors alone, but on the congregation)
4. A healthy church member is genuinely converted
- Some helpful questions to ask:
- Do we walk in the light or the darkness?
- Do we love God the Father?
- Do we love other Christians?
- Do we have the testimony of the Spirit that we are children of God?
- Are we persevering in the Faith?
5. A healthy church member is a biblical evangelist (Much of this chapter is taken from Mark Dever and Michael P. Andrus)
- Tell people with honesty that if they repent and believe they will be saved–but it will be costly
- Remember to pray
- Realize that the local church as a whole is a central part of evangelism… it should give credibility to the gospel we proclaim
6. A healthy church member is a committed member
- Regularly attend gatherings
- Seek peace
- Edify others
- Pursue reconciliation
- Bear with others
7. A healthy church member seeks discipline
- Humbly accept correction from others
- Take seriously your responsibility to discipline others in love
8. A healthy church member is a growing disciple
9. A healthy church member is a humble follower
- Obey and submit to leaders
- Follow the leaders’ example
- Pray for leaders
10. A healthy church member is a prayer warrior
- Pray for laborers and shepherds
- Pray for all the saints (Pray through your membership directory!)
- Pray for those in authority
What is a Healthy Church Member? does not offer anything new or profound. What you will find are basic responsibilities for those who are members of local churches. It seems Thabiti is responding to years of books on an individualistic approach to the Christian life. So many Christians are concerned with their own growth, their own holiness, their own evangelism. Thabiti book offers a helpful turn from individual to family.
By God’s grace, I have seen a lot of what Thabiti talked about in my own church. I commend this short book to you for the benefit of your Christian life and the life of your church. Maybe even consider getting two copies to read one with a fellow church member.