I know that the issue of regenerate church membership has primarily been a discussion among ministers, seminarians, and the rest of academia, but I want to speak to the layperson for a moment. You. Yes, you out there who is not a minister but cares about the church and has a great desire to see churches become healthy and experiencing biblical church growth. While there are some excellent resources that are more academic and make great cases for meaningful or regenerate church membership, I want to highlight six books for your consideration as a layperson with the hope that maybe one (or more) of them worth reading yourself.
1. Life in the Body of Christ: Privileges and Responsibilities in the Local Church by Curtis C. Thomas.
2. Life in the Father’s House: A Member’s Guide to the Local Church by Wayne A. Mack and Dave Swavely.
3. Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God by Joshua Harris.
4. What Is a Healthy Church? by Mark Dever.
5. Spiritual Disciplines within the Church: Participating Fully in the Body of Christ by Donald Whitney.
All of these books are affordable (roughly around $10 per book), and all of them would be worth your time to read, especially if you are interested in more than a discussion on meaningful church membership but want to be the kind of member who knows, understands, and practices it in your own local congregation.
Each of these books have their strengths and weakness as well as unique style and format, but they all address the single issue of what it means to be committed to your church as a faithful, devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, because membership is considered entry level in the process of discipleship, it is often overlooked or glossed over; yet, I am convinced that if we gain a better understanding of church membership and apply the covenant nature of our corporate identity as believers united to Christ and committed to one another, then the goal of developing healthy churches will have firm footing.
If there are other books, articles, or websites that you have found helpful that you would like to pass along to others, feel free to include them in the comments section. Let us work together that we might give ourselves to the health and well-being of our churches and the members who comprise them.