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Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (9Marks)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  3,947 ratings  ·  186 reviews
Now in its third edition and featuring a new foreword by New York Times best-selling author David Platt, pastor Mark Dever's classic book is not an instruction manual for church growth. Rather, it is a wise pastor's recommendation for how to assess the health of a church using nine crucial qualities often neglected by many of today's congregations. Church leaders and churc ...more
Paperback, Third Edition, 300 pages
Published August 31st 2013 by Crossway (first published 1997)
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Justin Tapp
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. I had read portions of this book years ago and cite it frequently but recently decided to study the whole thing again. In any organization you have to define the standard-- what is healthy? What structures, policies, procedures, and best practices need to be actively in place in order for this organization to be sustainable?

Mark Dever admits that this is just one book in a long line of similar books, and even provides a bibliography of dozens of recently-published
Ben Peltz
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
To be honest, I was disappointed with this book for the majority of the way through. It was solid enough, theologically, and biblically Dever is good at backing up his points, but much of what he said was pretty standard evangelical fare. The importance of preaching from the Bible, the importance of conversion and evangelism, and the need to practice church discipline was all the kind of thing you would expect to find in a book by a baptist minister.

But the book redeemed itself at the end, oddly
L. R. Bouligny Bouligny
The number of books in the evangelical world that are focused on how to “do church” number in the thousands. Most today are committed to church growth, and are filled with a myriad of ways on how one can turn his small congregation into a flourishing mega-church. To counter this obsession in America where congregations are being given over to man-centered techniques to draw in a large crowd, which almost always results in compromising the truth, Mark Dever has written this book to redirect the ...more
An excellent book that is well worth reading not only for church leaders, but also for church members like myself. This book addresses the simple but foundational question: What does a healthy church look like? How do I know if my church or the church I want to join is healthy? This is not a theological study on orthodoxy, but rather a practical study on things like church governance, preaching, membership, and emphasis.
David Robertson
I may be out on a limb here - because this book comes highly recommended by the like of John Piper , Don Carson and I have heard many good things about it. But overall I found it disappointing. The best chapters are the ones on evangelism and church membership. I think that some of my difficulties are that it is too American and it assumes congregationalism. I'm sure that people could profit from reading this - but it is not a book I would use with my church members. ...more
Philip Mcduffie
5 stars because of usefulness. I will go to this book time and time again for guidance. I will give this book away time and time again because of importance. I will implement the teachings in this book because of biblical accuracy. Very good book to read as a pastor and church member!
David Washington
9 Marks of Healthy Church is a solid primer on what it means to have a biblical church. There is some good insight in the book and it is one that I would recommend to anyone who is not sure what it is they should be looking for in a church. Most people look for a church in the wrong way for the wrong reasons. This takes some of the faux pas out of the process.

If the book did anything, it galvanized me in the direction that our church is going. It also made me want to grab a couple of books by O
May 22, 2013 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
A very good, non-technical book describing essential elements of biblically faithful church ministry. This is a must-read for 1) pastors seeking to be encouraged in maintaining a biblically focused ministry and 2) those seeking to find a church that espouses a biblical paradigm for ministry. Dever maintains that doing church God's way is counter-cultural in everything from the preaching (expository) to evangelism, conversion, membership, church discipline, and leadership. Throughout the book, De ...more
Stephen Hoogerhyde
I read the third edition (2013). This is a good book for thinking Biblically and clearly about what a healthy church is. It is a good book for those looking for a new church home, and for those who are ensconced in a church. There probably isn't much in here that would strike the reader as a new observation, but it is well reasoned and expressed.

For those not familiar with the book, here are the nine marks, in order: expositional preaching, Biblical theology, the gospel, a Biblical understanding
Rex Blackburn
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I came into this book with high expectations. Honestly, the book seemed a bit disjointed in places. I expected that the chapters would focus specifically on how these marks function within the local church. On the contrary, the chapter on Mark One (the one on expositional preaching) talks about preaching, Mark Two about the gospel, etc. The chapters seem a bit unrelated to one another. The later chapters of the book are much more in line with what I had hoped for.

Great observations on church di
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Dever's "Nine Marks" are what he argues are the basics of a healthy church. He agrees there are other things of importance, but these are the nine most pressing in our age. These are most certainly basic, as it is hard to imagine a healthy, gospel-believing church without these attributes.

The book itself is a series of essays expounding on each mark, with practical, and biblical wisdom. Reformed evangelicals will not find much to argue with here, nor, for that matter, will they likely find much
Doug Connell
Thorough primer on nine characteristics of a healthy church. Warning! - there are not only 9 marks; these are simply the nine that - if they are in place - empower and enable all the other important traits of a fruitful and faithful church.

Great book to read with others who would like to be challenged to think deeply about the bride and body of Christ.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great counsel for church leaders

I found this book quite helpful to help me think through the nine marks. While not exhaustive, Dever is thorough in supporting from the scriptures why these areas are essential and provides insights that have helped me to think critically scout these areas in ministry.
Matt Quick
Find Biblical Doctrine in Your Own Local Church

This book had some good points but it fell short of the Biblical Teaching of my Pastor. These points should already be known by Bible believing Christians and if they don't know them, perhaps they're in the wrong church.
Daniel Henderson
This book is great. It should serve as a springboard for further study for all elders pastors. I loved it!
Kyu Lee
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
our church went over this. great!
Franklin Lucky
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Holds a congregationalist perspective, otherwise very helpful.
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Practical ecclesiology at its finest. Dever lays out nine distinctives that characterize a biblically healthy church. It’s not an exhaustive list (which Dever makes clear throughout the book), but it helps to give a framework for other facets of the church beyond these nine. (For instance, how I lead musical worship can be informed by many of the marks in this book.) I plan to come back to this book often as I continue to mature in ministry.
Rick Davis
Sep 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ecclesiology
Good advice overall. Some excellent passages. A little unbalanced in a few places, but that's mostly because he's a Baptist. :P ...more
Steven Kopp
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 9 Marks of a Healthy Church Mark Dever “describes some marks that distinguish” healthy churches from unhealthy one. His book is less like an “anatomy of the body” (an exhaustive list of what a church is/should do) but a prescription (how a church can be/become healthy.)

The Marks:

#1: Expositional Preaching: It is the Word of God that forms and gives life to the people of God. Therefore, the purpose of preaching should be to faithfully explain and apply that Word to the congregation. For Dever,
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dever gives 9 indicators to consider regarding the health of (a/your) Church. His points are well thought out and delivered in a loving way, coming across as helpful and well grounded rather than scathing or inflammatory.
Just to name a few of the best points without spoiling anything, Dever calls us to consider:
1. The place of Preaching in our churches
4. The understanding of “being saved” or conversion among the congregation
5. The congregation’s attitude toward evangelism
8. Biblical Church disci
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rbc
Mark Dever serves as the Senior Pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He is well known for being a pastor, theologian, writer, and co-founder of 9Marks, a ministry that seeks to build godly churches in America. His book, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, was written in order to provide a map for the recovery of biblical church leadership and preaching in a day and age where the church has become watered down in order to be “attractive” and expand in physical numbers. America has ...more
Mike E.
Dever’s book is helpful to any pastor/elder/church leader. His “Nine Marks” are: Expositional preaching, biblical theology, the gospel, biblical understanding of conversion, biblical understanding of evangelism, a biblical understanding of church membership, biblical church discipline, concern for discipleship and growth, biblical church leadership. These are nine important marks for a healthy church according to Dever. The broader, historical understanding of a church--right preaching of the Wo ...more
Ted Tyler
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Should have finished this book much sooner, but I wanted to be able to digest what Dever was trying to get across. For most of college, I do not think I had the correct perspective on what makes a good church. But towards the latter half, some friends and I were able to join an Acts 29 Church that actually had most of the marks that Dever writes about (which is ironic because of the unspoken rivalry between Acts 29 and Nine Marks Churches). From my experience in churches, and based on what Dever ...more
Rob Markley
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
Likely, in fact no doubt this book is relevant to a highly religious bible belt church community in USA even in the early 2000's - and the basic principles are sound indeed to keep a church focused on the main thing. The business of church is God, not all the other stuff!

However this book overall belongs in the 1930's or worst - it has no practical application to the world today. The amazing revelation of Christianity is that it fits all peoples at all times, therefore we don't present a model
Adam Ziarnik
As my family is between churches, I thought this would be a good read while we search for a new church to call home. Having finished, I can say that I think this is something that should be read by all Christians. Even if you're *not* in the process of looking for a church, the principles Dever writes about here serve as a good compass by which to judge the health of your church, and perhaps should point you to areas that need improvement - areas that you may not be consciously aware of. Dever's ...more
Michael Abraham
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
This book was first a letter Dever wrote to a church he planted in Boston. In 1991, the church asked Dever to send them some qualities to look for as they looked for a new pastor.

Dever’s approach in the book is simple and biblical. He doesn’t provide a complete ecclesiology, but he doesn’t intend to. He argues that American evangelicalism has forgotten these basic principles, and the health of the church is at stake. The nine marks Dever considers are (1) expositional preaching; (2) biblical the
Dottie Parish
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever, is an excellent book about the church today. Dever, pastor of Capital Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., describes nine essential qualities missing in many churches today and necessary for the health of the church. Christians who are not growing and aren’t bothered about this fact is one troubling issue. Dever also describes social ills replacing sin in our concerns. He says, “Today, horizontal problems – problems between people – often obscure ...more
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, the-church
This was overall a pretty good set of guidelines for what a healthy church should be like. Since I already was aware of and agreed with all of them (having read the shorter "What is A Healthy Church?" book beforehand), the first five chapters in particular didn't give me a lot of new insights, but the latter four chapters definitely did. There's nothing astonishing in this book, but perhaps there shouldn't be. After two millennia, if there was a radically new set of guidelines for a church, that ...more
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After reading snippets over the years I finally read this all the way through. I probably can't make any other observations than what others have already made. I appreciate Mark Dever's Kingdom work. This guy is sharp. And even if you disagree on where he stands on how these 9 Marks play out, to his credit Dever does explain himself and the scriptural reasons for his stance. This is a must read for people who have been given responsibility to oversee a local church body. We are welcome to disagr ...more
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Mark Dever serves as the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. Since his ordination to the ministry in 1985, Dr. Dever has served on the pastoral staffs of four churches, the second being a church he planted in Massachusetts. Prior to moving to Washington in 1994, Dr. Dever taught for the faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University while serving two years as an associate ...more

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“A healthy church is not a church that's perfect and without sin. It has not figured everything out. Rather, it's a church that continually strives to take God's side in the battle against the ungodly desires and deceits of the world, our flesh, and the devil. It's a church that continually seeks to conform itself to God's Word.” 10 likes
“...the first step toward the one true God is to acknowledge that we are not that God.” 5 likes
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