What I’m Reading: The Deliberate Church

The Deliberate ChurchMark Dever’s The Deliberate Church is as practical a book on ministry as you’ll find.  As I see it, the book is one part church handbook (here’s what to do) and one part philosophy of ministry (here’s why). Thus, Dever effectively bridges the gap between a right theology of the local church and a real-life, workable methodology.  The title aptly describes the book: Dever thinks ministry–all ministry–should be done on purpose.

I smile at the book’s title because I’ve said for years that TCBC strives to be “intentional.”  We never want to do what we do by accident or without thought.  We want to be intentional, carrying out every facet of our ministry with a clear biblical text or principle in mind.  Joe Tyrpak, our Assistant Pastor, has ribbed me by saying that I’m calling for our church to be Purpose-Driven.  No–a thousand times no!  That’s not what we want, at least not if the compound adjective “purpose-driven” begins with capital letters and requires a (TM) to follow it! :-)  He knows this, of course.  But now I can defend myself: when I say intentional, I mean deliberate.

I won’t unpack the book here.  Others have done so already, and you’d be better served to read it on your own anyway. If you’re wondering, though, The Deliberate Church gives practical counsel which shows what the Nine Marks of a Healthy Church look like, and how to pursue them. It’s a “how-to” book–or at least a “think about this” book–but it doesn’t come off as pedantic or condescending.
I suggest that you give it a read.  If, as you do, you’d like to comment on it or pose a question, you can do so here. Even if you just want to give a quick “I read it, and I thought ____,” I’d love to hear it!


6 Responses

  1. Chris, I haven’t read this one, and have only read about a third of the 9 Marks book. So far with the 9 Marks book, I don’t really see anything in 9 Marks that I didn’t learn in Preacher Boys. (Except maybe the Calvinism.) I would be interested in what makes the book exceptional and how you think that the second book advances the ideas or the application of the ideas in it.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  2. BTW, I just placed an order on Amazon for the Deliberate Church book, so I will let you know what I think of it later. I am still curious about your thoughts on my question above.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  3. Well, Don, I never suggested that Dever was the first to say anything, or even the best. In fact, he goes out of his way to say that being novel is the last thing he wants. So I’m not denying that I’ve learned many good things elsewhere–say, in preacher boys. But, to be honest, I don’t know that we spent a lot of time talking about styles of leadership, polity, procedures for church discipline, every-member ministry, etc.

    I think Dever does an exceptional job focusing our attention on biblical ecclesiology. The fact that it’s not “new” is what I like so much about it…especially since I have 2 shelves of books about the church that are “the latest greatest secret to growing your church,” and such.

    Make sense? For the most part, what I’ve read has been good reminders of things I already know. But I’m glad for that, and I’m glad someone’s shouting basic principles of biblical ministry from the rooftops. What he’s saying needs to be heard in a day when churches and their leaders too often lack convictions or even biblical understanding regarding what they’re supposed to be doing.

  4. I guess what I’m looking for is why is Dever lauded so much, especially among young fundies? To hear some talk, he seems to be the great guru of church administration, a brilliant analyst, etc. Having started the 9 Marks book, I find my expectations disappointed. I don’t see what is so special about what he has to say.

    I am not looking for novel, being the curmudgeon that I am, I don’t like novel. But I am looking for a solid reason to bother reading the books. So far I haven’t seen it.

    I did get an e-mail from Amazon this am, so the Deliberate Church book is on its way. I imagine it will arrive next week sometime. I’ll let you know what I think.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  5. […] with publication in mind, but it may be helpful for you. And BTW, Dever’s books (particularly The Deliberate Church) have been a help on this issue, as […]

  6. […] regarding my favorites, I recommended Dever’s The Deliberate Church (which I blogged on here) and Strauch’s two books Biblical Eldership and The New Testament Deacon (which I blogged on […]

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