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Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (9Marks)

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  3,589 ratings  ·  150 reviews

You may have read books on this topic before—but not like this one. Instead of an instruction manual for church growth, this classic text offers tried and true principles for assessing the health of your church. Whether you’re a pastor, a leader, or an involved member of your congregation, studying the nine marks of a healthy church will help you cultivate new life and wel

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Kindle Edition, Third Edition, 306 pages
Published August 31st 2013 by Crossway Books (first published 1997)
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 ·  3,589 ratings  ·  150 reviews


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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
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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
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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.
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
Susan
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.
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!
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
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Rex Blackburn
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
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Franklin Lucky
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holds a congregationalist perspective, otherwise very helpful.
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
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Nathaniel-katie
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
John
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Daniel Poe
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never really knew the practical aspects of the church well until I read this amazing book. My knowledge of the church mainly came from systematic theology and church history books but now I've come to know better what the church really is and how I as a Christian am called to be a part of it and how I can grow not only individually, but also corporately as one body of Christ.
Robin
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Daniel Henderson
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
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,
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Ted Tyler
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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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  ·  review of another edition
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
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Josh Sieders
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
A fantastic book, one I admired coming from a Southern Baptist. I've grown up in a reformed denomination that takes many of these recommended structures for granted. From this I have renewed appreciation for church governance (plurality of elders and leadership), church membership and church discipline. I believe my church faithful to preaching the whole Bible too, but with a culture that sees families come to church faithfully and consistently yet not grow outwardly, I know we could benefit fro ...more
Ronnie Winterton
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mark Dever does a wonderful job in getting down to the essentials of ecclesiology. This book is a modern classic that I hope continues to grow in popularity. Dever does a good job of balancing the core essentials of the gospel with the tenets of a healthy church.

Believers should take these marks to heart to think about what a church should be and grow in their understanding of what it means to be a faithful member.

The only reason I didn’t give it a fifth star is I wish there was a little bit m
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Joshua Branch
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I want to avoid giving too many books the five star rating, but this book is very much a five star book. While one would think you'd use the principles (mark) found within the book to help recognize the state of your own church (whether it is healthy or not), or even to simply find a healthy church, many of these marks actually apply to our individual lives as Christians, and they can be both encouraging and challenging. I suggest this book to any believers interested in Christian grow ...more
Andrew Smith
There's much to quibble with theologically here. Dever is about as far away from my brand of Christianity as I can take and yet there is much here that is applicable to parish leadership. Dever has thought clearly about how to communicate what it means to be a Christian and a congregation in a post-Christian, post-congregation age. I will be adding at least 2 hours to adult instruction about what it means to be a church member based on Dever's urging here.
Ryan
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: church
Helpful book to form a biblical understanding of ecclesiology. The book is split into 9 separate chapters titled the '9 Marks' of how to establish a healthy, biblical church. I found the book to be insightful, filled with plenty of references of scripture and key figures in church history. I would recommend this book as a starting point for people who are interested in shaping their view on ecclesiology.
Robert Wegner
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic, must-read book for those beginning ministry. His 9 marks range from Biblical Exposition to Church Leadership. Every point comes from the Word of God and is practiced to a great extent by the author himself. I was gladly surprised to find helpful tips and processes of understanding that I had never considered before. Really helpful for me as I continue to understand God’s church and how I can serve Him.
Andrew Ivester
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book covering nine essentials of every healthy church. Dever writes persuasively and thoughtfully about each subject. This book may not wow you, but it is certainly a foundational book for anyone desiring to think critically about what a church is, and what characteristics should define a church.
Ron
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The question has been raised: "What would happen if Christ were removed from the church?" The author brings up some very important points on what a church should look like. But most important of all, we should seek Jesus Christ involvement as head of the church and centered on Him. Sadly, this book talks all around it but does not directly say we should ask and receive His direction.
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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
“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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