What is a healthy church member? by Thabiti Anyabwile is another book by the 9marks guys. This is a companion to the 9 marks of a healthy church by Mark Dever, but rather than being written for pastors and church leaders, this book is written for every member and prospective member of a local church.
This book looks at 10 marks of the church member (the 9 from 9marks plus an extra chapter). Each chapter is succinct and clear, they are that a ‘healthy church member is…’:
1: An exositional listener
2: A Biblical theologian
3: Gospel saturated
4: Genuinely converted
5: A Biblical evangelist
6: A committed member
7: Seeks discipline
8: A growing disciple
9: A humble follower
10: A prayer warrior
This book is short, simple and sharp. Thabiti does not pull any punches or waste your time – rather, he just gets straight to the point and shows us clearly why and how we should be living as a member of the local church. This is a book that is really needed – it is great to find a book that I can give to prospective church members and say ‘this is what we expect from you as a member, see what you think‘.
I particularly like the fact that he added a 10th mark – prayer. That is probably the most important lesson.
As with a few of the 9marks books, in order to be short and straight they tend to leave out lots of illustrations and delving into certain aspects of the book. This is a trade off. If Thabiti added more then the book would probably become too long to give to the average busy church member. So, as I often say, the weakness may actually be a strength.
The health of the local church depends on the willingness of its members to inspect their hearts, correct their thinking, and apply their hands to the work of ministry.
The gospel is not only news for a perishing world, it is the message that forms, sustains and animates the church.
It is impossible to separate the health of a local church from the health of its members.
WHO SHOULD READ THIS
Firstly I would love every member of my church to read this. I think the way it explains how to listen to sermons, live out sermons, spend time in prayer, relate to leaders, is brilliant. I’m sure our church would grow in depth and love as a result of this book being read.
Secondly I think it is worth church leaders reading the book to make sure that we know what a church member should be doing. Sometimes we can expect too much or too little.
Thirdly, I’d like to see this become a ‘text book’ for all prospective church members. How you come in is how you stay in. If you come in with this book, you’ll stay for a long and fruitful time.
In terms of being a book for prospective church members – GREAT.