Sam Allberry is associate pastor of St. Mary’s Church, Maidenhead, UK – an Anglican. So why does that matter? It doesn’t – but it could. It could if one approached the church of Jesus Christ from a strictly denominational perspective as if their own were the only true church. It could if one wrote for his own denomination with no concern for others. Allberry does neither. His book Why bother with church? while brief answers the question biblically and biblically. Yes, that was intentional because contrary to much that has been written in recent years, God has much to say about His church and His people. Frankly, there is no way to interpret passages concerning the necessity of the church for us, and the necessity of us for the church, in a manner that allows anyone to conveniently stay away. No excuse or reason to refuse to be involved is allowed in Scripture – in fact, it is sin to do so and grieves both the God of the church and the church of God.
Allberry has given us a short, readable, and necessary book on church membership. He begins by defining the church (chapter 1) and follows by answering the question of the book’s title (chapter 2). Flowing from this he shows that he understands that there exists today many places that call themselves a church that really aren’t a church as defined by Scripture. So in chapter 3 he answers another question, “What makes a good church?” and couples that with biblical church leadership, structure and discipline in chapter 4. He then deals with the individual and their need to be one who serves the church rather than just looking to be served, or to use his language, attending church as a Christian or a consumer. He closes by giving biblical counsel as to what makes a good church member.
Allberry also anticipates some of the questions that even faithful church members have concerning the church. These are shaded in gray at the end of each chapter and will prove useful for leadership and congregation alike.
Why bother with church? is an enjoyable and practical read. We will begin distributing it to those who attend our prospective members class as a way to set forth our expectation of them as members, and what should be their expectation as members of our leadership – biblically and therefore reasonably. I think you will find a use for it with your members as well.
I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.