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The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   221
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.46" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.59"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 9, 2005
ISBN  1581347383  
EAN  9781581347388  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Pastors Mark Dever and Paul Alexander provide a model of a biblical church in this resource for pastors, elders, and others interested in the vitality of their church. This highly practical book proposes an attitude of complete reliance on and submission to the Gospel in building a healthy church.

Publishers Description

"Here is one of the most faithful and insightful pastors of our time, addressing the most crucial issues of church life. Mark Dever refuses to separate theology and congregational life, combining pastoral insight with clear biblical teaching. This book is a powerful antidote to the merely pragmatic approaches of our day-and a refutation to those who argue that theology just isn't practical."
-R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"This book is the perfect example of what a truly practical book on church health and growth should be-it gives concrete guidance for and examples of biblical principles being put into practice in the life and ministry of the local congregation."
-J. Ligon Duncan III, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi

"Rare indeed are books on the church that begin with the Gospel. Rarer still are books that derive methodology for building the church from the Gospel. This excellent book does both."
-C. J. Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Ministries

"The Deliberate Church shares many of the ministry lessons that Dr. Dever and his colleagues have learned from Scripture and sought to implement in the life of their church community. This book is for anyone who wants to get serious about following the biblical pattern for the church and is looking for down-to-earth practical help."
-Philip Graham Ryken, Senior Minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia

"Here is a novel idea: use the Bible as a handbook to gather and guide the church And The Deliberate Church is a novel volume indeed, standing amid the spate of 'church-as-corporation, pastor-as-CEO' manuals that glut church life. Here is a book that wafts a radical, refreshing breeze from the pages of Scripture that will breathe life into the church. A crucial read."
-R. Kent Hughes, Senior Pastor, College Church in Wheaton (Illinois)

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More About Mark Dever & Paul Alexander

Mark Dever

Mark Dever (PhD, Cambridge University) is the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and president of 9Marks ( Dever has authored over a dozen books and speaks at conferences nationwide.

Ligon Duncan (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is the chancellor & CEO and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He previously served as the senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, for seventeen years. He is a cofounder of Together for the Gospel, a senior fellow of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and was the president of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals from 2004-2012. Duncan has edited, written, or contributed to numerous books. Ligon and his wife, Anne, have two children and live in Jackson, Mississippi.

R. Albert Mohler Jr. (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the ninth president of Southern Seminary and as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology. Considered a leader among American evangelicals by Time and Christianity Today magazines, Dr. Mohler hosts a daily radio program for the Salem Radio Network and also writes a popular daily commentary on moral, cultural, and theological issues. Both can be accessed at

C. J. Mahaney is the senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville. He has written, edited and contributed to numerous books, including Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology; Don't Waste Your Sports; and Sex, Romance and the Glory of God. C. J. and his wife, Carolyn, are the parents of three married daughters and one son, and the happy grandparents to twelve grandchildren.

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don't Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, A Peculiar Glory, and Reading the Bible Supernaturally.

R. C. Sproul (Drs, Free University of Amsterdam) serves as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew's Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and is the founder and president of Ligonier Ministries. He has taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, has written over seventy books, and is featured daily on Renewing Your Mind, an international radio broadcast.

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he has served since 1969. He is known around the world for his verse-by-verse expository preaching and his pulpit ministry via his daily radio program, Grace to You. He has also written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. MacArthur serves as the president of the Master's College and Seminary. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children.

Thabiti M. Anyabwile (MS, North Carolina State University) serves as a pastor at Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC, and is the author of numerous books. He serves as a council member of the Gospel Coalition, is a lead writer for 9Marks Ministries, and regularly blogs at The Front Porch and Pure Church. He and his wife, Kristie, have three children.

Mark Dever has published or released items in the following series...
  1. 9Marks

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A must  Jan 21, 2008
Recently, several, straight-forward books which provide a superlative guide for evangelical (protestant) churches have been written and this is one of them. No ivory tower prof writes this short, every-day language set of essays. Pastor Mark Dever's authority comes not from his doctorate but from his fruit in his own church from which experiences this book is drawn. A must read, along with Rainer's Simple Church and Dever's A Healthy Church for all who would reform the local church to biblical orthodoxy for the glory of God and the joy of His children.
Excellent Handbook on the Church...  Oct 17, 2007
This is a great handbook for any preacher. It is seriously a handbook for the church. It gives great reminders and ideas for those that have been in a church for years and for those who have either just planted a church or that have taken over the reigns as lead pastor. Some of the greatest advice in the book focuses not only on the theological implications of the different methodologies in the church but in exactly how to implement different things in churches so that you don't scare off the sheep.

This book is amazing in its practical instruction on certain issues, even the particulars of how to run an elders meeting. So, it is truly designed for use throughout one's ministry and to be used almost as an encyclopedia of sorts of a "how to" for the local church. The book is broken up into four parts:

Part I: Gathering the Church
In general this section focuses on expository preaching, prayer, missions, membership and discipline

Part II: When the Church Gathers

This section focuses on worship and the regulative principle of worship, the ordinances, the role of the pastor, etc.

Part III: Gathering Elders

This section focuses on things such as the biblical mandate for elders, the searching for those men, staffing, etc.

Part IV: When the Elders Gather

This section is very practical and walks through how Dever's church handles elder meetings and the role of the lead pastor in those meetings. Very practical.

All in all this is a great book. I do not agree with every aspect of it, but those that I don't agree with I never felt as though Dever was "pushing his convictions" but was just putting them forth. This is great to see a man of God just showing the way their church do things without purporting it as the ONLY way, but A way. Very encouraging to see and more understanding of why Dever has been so successful in starting and maintaining the ministry of "Together for the Gospel" with others that don't see eye to eye with him on every aspect of the non-essentials.

I would very much like to see this book on the top of every list of books that pastors are ready and wanting to read. Very much needed book when the next great "how to grow your church no matter what" is probably just around another corner.
Not you're CEO Pastor!  Jul 13, 2007
We live in a day and age where biblical preaching and good old theological teaching has taken a back seat and the CEO Pastor is in the front! This is not the case with Mark Dever. I read this book right before I became an elder, which helped me greatly.

Once I finished the book, I thought, is this really, how this church functions? I had to find out, so I took a trip to Capital Hill Baptist to see for myself. It was nice to see that Capital Hill Baptist operated in the exact way described in Devers' book. Not only that, but I "interrogated" one of the interns, and he described their elder's meetings exactly the way the book did.

If you are a church leader, I would highly recommend that you read this book. This book was intended to be the sequel to Devers' previous book, 9 marks of a healthy church, which is also fantastic!
Read The Deliberate Church!!!  Jun 21, 2007
The Deliberate Church (TDC) is a self-conscious attempt to make some headway into the overblown "The ___________ Church" genre by teaching pastors how to build "the church on and around the Gospel of Christ" (21) with the goal of liberating "both leaders and members from the tyranny of popular growth models and church fads" (202).

A deliberate church intentionally infuses absolutely everything it does with the Gospel! My goal here is to overview the book, and give some highlights.

On the first page of the introduction the authors write their thesis: "Ignoring God's plan for the church and replacing it with your own will ensure the eternal futility of your work" (25). Let that sink in! Along those same lines they write: "Our power is not in having small groups, or meeting the felt needs of our target audience, or using the right evangelism program, or having funny skits, or providing plenteous parking, or targeting our ministries to postmoderns. Our power is in our unique message--the Gospel (27).

The introduction and conclusion alone are worth the retail price. Overall, the book is divided into four sections that help the reader deliberately apply the gospel to the growing of a church, the gathering of a church on Sunday, the choice of elders and the elders meetings.

The first section was a 75-page summary of Dever's 9 Marks of a Healthy Church; however, it was geared towards practically doing what was written as theory in 9 Marks.

My favorite parts were his understanding of the pastor's job--the 4 P's = expository Preaching, Praying, developing Personal discipling relationships, and being Patient (ch. 1)--his explanation and application of the gospel (43-5), what to avoid in evangelism (54-56) and his biblical case for and application of church membership (60-5). Remember, "God is happiest to entrust His flock to those shepherds who do things His way" (40) and "God's purposes for all of human history revolve around the local church as the visible, corporate manifestation of His Son" (72).

Section 2 (the longest in TCD) helps the corporate gathering of the church become Gospel-centered. They begin by arguing that God cares about how we worship (ch. 6); therefore, our Sundays should revolve around Reading, Preaching, Praying, Singing and Seeing (in baptism & the Lord's Supper) the Bible (81-6). In ch. 8 they argue the role of the pastor flows from a biblical understanding of what a church is to be and do, meaning the "most important and fundamental role of the pastor is to preaching the Gospel clearly" (89). There is also a lot of practical help here on staff meetings, the purpose of the weekly church services (ch. 9), baptism & communion (ch. 10), cultivating love in your church (ch. 11) and music (ch. 12).

My favorite part is his summary of pastoral ministry: The 3 G's = Graze (feed the people God's Word), Guide (lead God's people), Guard (protect God's people) (94-5) and their conclusion: "every element of the main weekly gathering should have positive warrant from Scripture.... This may seem constrictive...[but] it will actually liberate you from the tyranny of the latest innovation or the most popular fad" (126).

Section 3 is about choosing elders. He argues that the words elder, pastor, bishop, overseer all refer to the same office (cf. Acts 20:17-38, 1 Peter 5:1-2) and that there are only two church offices in the NT, elder and deacon (cf. Phil 1:1, 1 Tim 3:1-13). He argues persuasively for a plurality of elders (over against the Moses, single, solitary pastor model) (ch. 13). The rest of the section gives practical advice on how to choose elders biblically (character recognition before training), how to assess their ability and character (chs. 15-16), how to patiently transition a church into an elder-led model (ch. 17) and choose church staff (ch. 18).

Section 4 is a very practical section on structuring the Bible and prayer (ch. 19), the agenda (ch. 20), the decision-making process (ch. 21) and attitudes of elders meetings around the gospel. He gives good advice here on how to fill the time at a meeting (chs. 19-20), the senior pastor's role as a model of the Gospel in these meetings (185-6, 189-92), delegation of responsibilities, equipping the other elders (173-5), and determining the annual budget (186-7).

The book ends with summarizing a deliberate church as one that is Godward-looking (195-7) for growth and Outward-looking (197-202) to serve other people, other churches and other countries with the Gospel.

In conclusion, I loved The Deliberate Church! It was a little slow in places, but overall it is the most practical book on what a church and it's leadership is supposed to be and do that I've ever read! Though it's a bit repetitive if you've read 9 Marks and I do not agree with all it advocates, I highly recommend it and agree with R. Kent Hughes that this book "wafts a radical, refreshing breeze from the pages of Scripture that will breathe life into the church" (back cover).
Emerging from the Chaos  Feb 25, 2007
Mark Dever's latest book, a companion to "Nine Marks," offers the novel idea that church leaders should build church ministry on the Bible. In "The Deliberate Church," Dever demonstrates that a thorough study of the Gospel offers everything needed for church life and church godliness.

In a day when we tend toward a modernistic approach to church (the pastor as the CEO) and a post-modern approach to the church (the people and their opinions as CEO), it is refreshing to hear a voice crying in the wilderness. Dever reminds us of what we should not have forgotten: the Bible is relevant--eternally so and actually so day-by-day.

Dever outlines four broad areas of Gospel ministry and in so doing provides a practical ecclesiology: a theology of church life and church leadership. Because no one book can say everything, readers desiring more insight into body life ("one anothering" and spiritual friendships) and personal/corporate spiritual formation (the spiritual disciplines) may want to supplement "The Deliberate Church" with other pertinent reading. However, start here with a foundation for building ministry on the Gospel.

Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of Spiritual Friends, Soul Physicians, Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction , "Biblical Psychology," and "Martin Luther's Pastoral Counseling."

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