Meanderings of a Minister


What Makes A Healthy Church Member?
August 4, 2016, 9:58 am
Filed under: Articles, Book Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

What Makes a Healthy Church Member

Years ago, Thabiti M. Anyabwile wrote a book with that title.  On behalf of the IX Marks ministry, Dr. Anyabwile attempted to sit down and formulate what a healthy church member looks like.  His findings were a challenge to me personally, for in our denomination, I am a member of our local church.  Here is a synopsis of what he found.

First and foremost, a healthy church member is one who listens expositionally.  What does that mean?  Listening this way is akin to critical listening skills in other disciplines.  A healthy church member knows their Bible and can evaluate whether or not the sermon is accurate to the text because they are familiar with the overall story of the Bible.  Like the Bereans in the book of Acts, healthy church members should be able to search the scriptures to see if these things are so.

Similarly, the healthy church member should also be a Biblical Theologian.  This means that they are knowledgeable enough of the character and activity of God so as to be able to critically evaluate not only the Biblical message of the church, but also the lives of their fellow members to help them with any blind spots that might exist.

The healthy church member both understands the gospel and has personally had it applied to their heart and lives and are seeking to model it as well as share it with others.  A healthy church member is someone who understands that his or her sins have been forgiven and know what they deserve in separation from God.  Since they have been given grace, they extend it to others without simply turning a blind eye to sin around them or in their own lives.

The healthy church member is also a committed member.  Now, this does not mean just that they attend church every time the doors are open.  That was the old metric.  They attend, yes, but it is much more than that.  They are committed to following their leaders as long as their leaders are following Christ.  They are committed to sharing their gifts and talents in service to others.  They are committed to give to their church financially as much more than just the required ten percent.  They look for ways to help financially and even sacrifice their own plans for the sake of what God is doing through their church.

The healthy church member seeks out accountability and welcomes discipline when appropriate.  No one likes discipline. (Hebrews 12:11)  But the healthy church member realizes that her own heart might deceive her into thinking she is doing great when she actually is living wrongly.  (Jeremiah 17:9)  The healthy church member has a desire to live a holy life as a means of thanking Jesus for the cross and for the freedom we have been given.  Because of this, any pain or inconvenience the discipline of others brings is worth it.

The healthy church member is hungry to continue growing.  Whether it is effectiveness in prayer, understanding of scripture, development in evangelism, or discovery and deployment of spiritual gifts, the healthy church member wants to continue to grow.  They want to continue to mature in their belief and practice alike.  They read, study, pray, serve, and more for the purpose of growing in Christ.

The healthy church member is a humble follower who prays for their church.  They put the needs of others ahead of their own in practice and in prayer.  The healthy church member will embrace music that is not their style for the sake of those who might need it to connect them to ministry and the church.  The healthy church member would rather than church building be worn out by teeming masses being brought in than to keep it an unstained museum to the greatness of their sacrifices to build a nice facility.

While this is only a very brief synopsis of Anyabwile’s book, What Is A Healthy Church Member?. It begs the questioning of our hearts to ask if that is healthy, am I?

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