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What Is a Healthy Church? (IX Marks) (9 Marks of a Healthy Church) Hardcover – June 19, 2007
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About the Author
Mark Dever (PhD, Cambridge University) is the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and president of 9Marks (9Marks.org). Dever has authored over a dozen books and speaks at conferences nationwide.
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However, this should not discourage someone from reading this book. It's too important to neglect.
The Nine Marks of a Healthy Church are as Follows:
1) Expository Preaching
2) Biblical Theology
3) A Biblical Understanding of the Good News
4) A Biblical Understanding of Conversion
5) A Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
6) A Biblical Understanding Membership
7) Biblical Church Discipline
8) Biblical Discipleship and Growth
9) Biblical Church Leadership
I think that any church that focuses on these areas is going to be pretty solid. However, it doesn't guarantee health. I think character and emotional health come into play as well - e.g. - 1 Corinthians 13 talks about love being an essential quality of the church; also, many churches have good doctrine, infrastructure, and do all the above, but live in a false peace (see Peter Scazzero's - The Emotionally Healthy Church).
Overall, I recommend this little book as an introductory primer as a good evaluation tool, containing specific areas for local churches to have a good "check list" of ideas and practices to shoot for as they seek to be more Biblical in what they do when they gather together as a local church body. For more detail then what Dever writes in this book - I would recommend the slightly larger book - Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.
What surprised me the most so far is even after you leave a church the pastor still needs your support.