Here is a good word from Thom Rainer out of his recent book, I Am a Church Member. He admonishes those who view church membership from a consumerist standpoint while exhorting a return to a committed local church membership.
Based on our research of 557 churches from 2004 to 2010, nine out of ten churches in America are declining or growing at a pace that is slower than that of their communities. Simply stated, churches are losing ground in their own backyards.
Another way of looking at it is generationally. About two-thirds of the Builder generation, those born before 1946, are Christians. But only 15 percent of the Millennials are Christians. The Millennials are the largest generation in America’s history with almost eighty million members. They were born between 1980 and 2000. And we have all but lost that generation.
We can blame it on the secular culture. And we often do.
We can blame it on the godless politics of our nation. We do that as well.
We can even blame it on the churches, the hypocritical members, and the uncaring pastors. Lots of Christians are doing that.
But I am proposing that we who are church members need to look in the mirror. I am suggesting that congregations across America are weak because many of us church members have lost the biblical understanding of what it means to be a part of the body of Christ.
We join churches expecting others to serve us, to feed us, and to care for us.
We don’t like the hypocrites in the church, but we fail to see our own hypocrisies.
God did not give us local churches to become country clubs where membership means we have privileges and perks.
He placed us in churches to serve, to care for others, to pray for leaders, to learn, to teach, to give, and, in some cases, to die for the sake of the gospel.
Many churches are weak because we have members who have turned the meaning of membership upside down. It’s time to get it right. It’s time to become a church member as God intended. It’s time to give instead of being entitled.
(Thom S. Rainer, I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference [Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Publishing Group, 2013], 5-6)