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The Compelling Community: Where God's Power Makes a Church Attractive

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  318 ratings  ·  57 reviews
What does a community that testifies to God's power look like?

God's people are called to a togetherness and commitment that transcends all natural boundaries--whether ethnic, generational, or economic. But such a community can be enjoyed only when it relies on the power of God in the gospel.

In The Compelling Community, pastors Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop cast a captivating
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 30th 2015 by Crossway Books
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4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  318 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Drew Miller
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
While geared towards pastors and elders, I found this book helpful for guiding me in how to pray for church leaders. It was also helpful in showing the responsibilities of church leaders to the congregation and the congregation to the leaders.
Austin Fry
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really great look at the Christian community - the local church. A great mix of practical and conceptual. So much of local church ministry can seem mysterious when you’re not sure what the point of your community is. Dever and Dunlop give honest, biblical clarity to the mystery. 9Marks is straight killing it in the local church game. Can’t get enough of it!
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An excellent description & practical discussion of how the Church of Christ should function. Not by imitating today’s cooperate structures but functioning as the warm, caring, living organism known as the Body of Christ.
Todd Miles
An excellent Gospel-centered philosophy of ministry. I recommend this to all pastors.
Mark D.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book gives practical instruction which is part of the worship at CHBC. The book encourages pastors and leaders to make the worship in their assembly more compelling. The encouragement is to make the assembly not just a place to attend to satisfy your spiritual obligations, but a place where God is worshiped.
Pete Williamson
The first part of the book started a little slow for me - if you're familiar with 9Marks, this will be mostly review - but the practical part of the book (the last 60% or so) is gold.
Alice Gent
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and it is full of biblical wisdom. It was wonderful to have an American book that offered solutions to the issues in the church that were not program driven, as if church is a business, but focused on the power of faithfully preaching and living out the gospel. It was wonderful that throughout the book the authors admitted that supernatural community comes from God and not from our efforts. However there are things we can do to get in the way that we need to identify a ...more
Greg Williams
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
In "The Compelling Community", the author makes the case that the local church is meant to be a supernatural community that shows off the power of God by both its unity and its diversity. It is written primarily for church leaders and offers strategies for fostering and protecting community in your church. As such, it takes church membership seriously and sets a high bar for church members. He goes further and suggests that the mark of a true Christian is commitment to a local church as a spirit ...more
Bryan Kuranaga
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Belief in God and His Word will naturally lead to the development of a community that is
centered around the gospel and supernatural in its commitment to one another.

Dever and Dunlop consider the importance of church community and view it as the greatest
testimony of the truth of the gospel as well as the normal means of preserving the Christian faith.
They argue that both evangelism and discipleship are compromised when church community
fails to reinforce the teaching of God’s Word. To them, God’s
Jeff Short
This book is an excellent blend of biblical teaching and practical experience. The main thrust of this book has to do with the kind of unity a church ought to have. Churches can be like social clubs where the unity is built around similarities, whether demographic or special interests. Other churches have mere unity on a shared confession of faith, or distinctive doctrinal points. Both of those are common and both of those fall short of the mark of communal unity of the Lord's churches in Script ...more
Michael Abraham
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Read this book! Buy this book! Do it now!

Okay, enough with that. Seriously, this is a great book. I'd encourage any Christian to read and implement it. You won't find anything new, but what you will find is refreshingly ordinary and possible.

In brief, Dever and Dunlop write that our churches should be communities which display the power of the Word to the watching world. Yet they contend that one major problem against this is the fact that our communities are gospel-plus¬–communities derived so
Todd Bryant
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another book by 9Marks that every church leader should read. Sometimes we are so caught up in the theology of the local church that we forget the practical purpose of the local church. The church is a community which displays the Gospel to the surrounding area. We are either doing this well or we are not. We are either doing this Biblically or we are not. Jamie Dunlop (the actual author) and Mark Dever have really put together some challenging ideas - from diversity to the ordinances to discipli ...more
Joshua Rowland
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You really can’t go wrong with 9Marks. In The Compelling Community, Dunlop and Dever offer a fresh take on the ancient, biblical model of the New Covenant Community. This book is an enjoyable blend of scripture, anecdotes, principles, and suggestions, born out of years of pastoral experience. It’s a needed antidote to much of the surface level grouping that passes for community in churches today (even if you don’t agree with every single conclusion). It’s a quick and easy read - you would be sil ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another great and practical book on the church. I was reminded that unity is primary in all situations except matters of high importance with high clarity in scripture. We also need to look at our ministry and honestly evaluate if we’re strengthening, or actually weakening, the body. Are we trusting in our natural means or God’s supernatural, yet ordinary, means of grace (the Word, fellowship, prayer & ordinances)?
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I have read written by Mark Dever. I read this book in preparation for an upcoming church plant. It certainly made me feel as though I have been "playing church" for awhile. It does prepare you for planting a Christ-centered church and is also a great asset to assist you in your current church with a strong focus on the gospel message..
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a very good book with practical suggestions for creating community in your church, what to expect from the church leaders, and how to think about church planting verse church revitalization. “The Compelling Community”. Is not just for church leaders, but is a must read for all church members. Definitely recommend this book.
Dennis Thurman
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very helpful. In a day when attracting people to church through marketing and appealing to consumerism this is a solid, spiritual Biblical approach. There is solid theology as the foundation and practical application for the local church.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Mark Dever has written in this book a lot of practical advice on how to center your church on reaching the community with the Gospel. How to get past a church built around small groups in specific walks of life and building a community that is comprised of all generations.
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly thought provoking and countercultural! This was my Aha! Answer to the question “Why do so many churches I’ve attended work so hard and still lack spiritual community?” Now to use what I’ve learned in my own life!
SH Chong
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A need for gospel-revealing community, built around diversity and differences, not similarity and natural affinities. “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12).
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really brilliant, read it as a group of church elders and helped us to get beyond the simple buzzword of ‘community’ and into practical teaching and application from the word of God.
Jónatas Lopes
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Livro muito bom sobre o poder do Evangelho que, quando é pregado, cria uma Igreja sobrenatural.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Solid and helpful.
Sam Knecht
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Second time through his book, and well worth it! A very compelling read to consider what it means for the church to be a compelling community.
John Hsieh
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is hip, cool, popular for a church to be multiethnic nowadays, but why? Are there any biblical basis for that? What does it mean for my local church? If you are thinking about these questions, go ahead and read this book, it's good.
Zach Barnhart
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have yet to read a book put out by the 9Marks initiative that I didn’t like. I’m so thankful for Mark Dever and the other wise and helpful pastors he’s gotten on board to help us learn about building healthy churches. They have been essential resources for pastors and church leaders, and The Compelling Community continues down that path. When I chose to review this book, I was reading mostly because a part of my role in serving at the church plant I’m working with is evaluating what we are doi ...more
Jude St. John
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Some of the most edifying books I have read in the past decade have come with a 9Marks logo located somewhere on the cover. The Compelling Community, by Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop, is another excellent 9Marks book that I found very helpful. This book, primarily written by Dunlop, focuses on lessons learned and principles derived from Pastor Mark Dever and the church the two authors lead and attend.

Dunlop writes, “I want to raise the bar of what you envision church community to be,” and at the s
Steve Johnson
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Received this book at the Church Revitalization Conference at the host church of the co-authors, and see myself coming back to this book in the next church I serve as a full-time pastor. This book would be a great book for a pastoral staff or a group of elders to read for the purpose of application to a local congregation. Yet I can also see it being quite helpful for a Wednesday night or Sunday morning study with a broader "by-in" from the congregation at large. This book is about creating a cu ...more
Matt Tyler
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
This is a helpful (small) book that addresses fostering and protecting community in the local church. Specifically, Dunlop and Dever cast a vision for supernatural community in the church that thrives because of the gospel. The authors are concerned that despite good intentions, many churches build communities that can thrive regardless of the gospel.

This isn't a "how to" book in the traditional sense, but it certainly has many practical tips for fostering and protecting community within churche
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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
“We commit to other believers in the local church simply because it's part of God's calling us into his family. It's what it means to be a Christian. Take the passage from 1 John 4:19-21. It starts with our salvation: "He first loved us." Then it continues into our love for other Christians. "Whoever loves God must also love his brother." Every person loved by God in this salvific sense loves other Christians. There are no exceptions. And that means we should stop viewing commitment to a local church as a process and start viewing it as an event. The event is our salvation, and commitment is something that inevitably follows- not something that merely happens as we mature.” 1 likes
“A cold heart that does not love suggests one of two things. Either it has never been forgiven, or it does not appreciate the depth of its forgiveness. In fact, much of our growth in Christ is simply growth in our understanding of what Christ has done for us.” 1 likes
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