September 10, 2012

Nine Marks of a Healthy Church - Book Review

Earlier in the year our church covered the book What is a Healthy Church?  The longer version of that material is found the the book called the Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever. To prepare for the Wednesday night teaching, I read through this book to help me prepare.

I was drawn to this book because I am the Pastor at a very small church.  And when you are the pastor of a very small church, you find yourself constantly questioning your own abilities and measuring your effectiveness by the number of people in the room.  I mean, surely if I was doing what God wanted me to do, then this church would grow... Right?

Wrong.

There are many cases in the Bible of Men doing exactly what God wanted them to do, and their lives weren't marked by popular success.  Noah didn't have one convert believe in his message of judgment.  Isaiah's message was that people weren't going to believe it.  And Jesus was eventually abandoned by all of his followers and crucified.

So, I needed another way to evaluate our church.  I had been reading the Nine Marks blog for a little while, so I decided to grab this book from Amazon and give it a read. I then grabbed the down-sized version and used it during our Wednesday night teaching time.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it and we walked away with some changes that need to be made and some confidence that we are doing some things right.

The Nine Marks are:

  1. Expositional Preaching
  2. Biblical Theology
  3. Biblical Understanding of the Good News
  4. Biblical Understanding of Conversion
  5. Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
  6. Biblical Understanding of Church Membership
  7. Biblical Understanding of Church Discipline
  8. Biblical Understanding of Church Leadership
  9. Concern for Promoting Christian Discipleship and Growth
Though there are several other ways to evaluate your church, I found this one to be extremely helpful and essentially Biblical in nature.  Even asking about being "healthy" instead of "successful" is such an important aspect.  I highly recommend this book, and encourage you to click the link above and start evaluating your church.