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The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  794 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Dever and Alexander propose a model of complete reliance and submission to the gospel when building a healthy church. Great resource for pastors, elders, and others interested in the vitality of their church.
Paperback, 221 pages
Published September 9th 2005 by Crossway Books (first published 2005)
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4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  794 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Anton Beetge
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good little book on church life. Basically a "how-to" on getting a church from an unhealthy to a healthy state.
Jeff Jones
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The topic of church organization and polity all too often lends itself to dry, technical treatments. It was therefore a pleasant surprise to read Mark Dever and Paul Alexander’s book The Deliberate Church. This work is written not just for pastors and seminarians, but also for the average Christian who is interested in fostering the growth of a healthy church.

In a realm seemingly dominated by pragmatism and tradition, The Deliberate Church carries a refreshing emphasis on the centrality of Scrip
Wes F
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent study, thoroughly based on God's Word, of what a local church should be & how it might be most effectively organized & led. Good, solid insights & recommendations for consideration.
David Velasquez
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La iglesia deliberante es un libro que nos hace recordar que la Palabra de Dios y el evangelio son suficientes para crear el pueblo de Dios (la iglesia), edificarlo, informar sus métodos, y expandir su obra por el mundo. No es un libro innovador. Los autores describen su intención al escribir este libro de esta manera: “nuestra meta es tomar la iglesia hacia el futuro recordándole como debería ser originalmente. Pensamos que la iglesia será catapultada hacia el futuro solo cuando la cosa más not ...more
Matt Tyler
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
This book is for all those who benefited from Nine Marks of a Healthy Church and then set it down asking, "now what?" This book was Connie Dever's idea because she realized that Mark was being asked the same questions again and again by pastors.

Amazingly, there isn't anything necessarily profound in this book. But there are "tips" for living out a biblical ecclesiology. The reason I gave this book 5 stars is because if you are anything like me, you will probably read this book and think, "Hey, I
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Some of my favorite quotes:
The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel by Mark Dever and Paul Alexander

Ours is a ministry of magnification—making God’s glory appear to the eyes of the world as big as it really is by bringing it into closer view and sharper focus in the form of the local church.

The Word builds the Church. 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 provi
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Both authors Mark Dever and Paul Alexander have written a helpful book for pastors and church leaders on doing church ministry according to the Bible and centered on the Gospel. As the book states on page 28, “The Gospel alone shapes and evaluate must both shape and evaluate any ministry method we use.” This is a great antidote to the seeker sensitive church method or other marketing gimmick that is driven more by man-centered pragmatisms instead of the Word of God. I love how this book is both ...more
Wallace Vieira
Livro bom sobre o modo de ser igreja. É praticamente um relato de como a igreja americana situada na capital do EUA funciona, dentro de um contexto conservador Batista. O livro tem sua utilidade, é interessante ver como os "presbíteros" conduzem a igreja. Assuntos como evangelização, receber novos membros, a disciplina eclesiástica, as ordenanças são bastantes interessantes. As duas primeiras sessões do livro pode servir a qualquer contexto da igreja Brasileira, salvo alguns casos. As sessões tr ...more
Vincent Ng
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book on church ministry that wonderfully combines both theology and practical applications. It emphasizes the importance of church being grounded Scripturally in practice, keeping a biblical basis for the things that are done. Alexander and Dever share practical examples from their own church, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, and will serve to be a blessing to those who pick up the book. In a society that is so filled with creating the right program or the right niche through en ...more
Jeff Short
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: church, pastoral
This is a practical, ground-up look at a healthy church. Elements of church structure and operation may not seem the most interesting concepts to read about, but they are vital to the health of a local church. I highly recommend "9 Marks of a Healthy Church," and this book is a perfect companion to it. The first communicates the vision and direction and the second helps see how to get there.

Pastors are responsible to care and watch for all the flock they serve. At the very least, this book will
Brian Watson
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a good complement to Dever's Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. While that more famous book describes those nine marks, this book prescribes how to make those nine marks a reality in a church that is coming from a less-than-healthy condition. Therefore, this book is quite practical. The general advice is to make changes deliberately. The changes that are suggested are not gimmicks, nor are they changes for change's sake. They are changes that will make a church more aligned with Script ...more
David Meiklejohn
A book about how to run a church based on biblical principles rather than the latest management fads. Up to a point this is quite decent, but the author goes into quite a lot of detail on things like elders meetings and so on where he doesn’t have much in the way of biblical basis so just tells you what he thinks.
A good source of detailed ideas on how to run a church though, helpful for pastors and the like.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it
9Marks books are always helpful to skim and this book is no different. If you share the same Church polity, then it might have more to offer, but for me it is just edifying to learn from people outside my particular tradition and structures.
Jo Ksly
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un "manuel" pratique (parfois peut-être trop: j'entends par la que l'auteur passe parfois trop rapidement, à mon gout, sur les fondements doctrinaux, par exemple pour la question des ordonnances) qui délivre une vision globale d'un fonctionnement d'église sain.
Courtney Mosier Warren
Overall the idea was average (3 stars) but the writing made it below average. I found it to be dry and often scattered. It felt like a very long description on how Mark Denver organizes things and less about how to make deliberate choices to help people grow in the Gospel.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A solid, moderate-length text that reads as a helpful, pastor manual on biblical thinking for each aspect of local church organization. It is chock full of clearly sweat-earned wisdom on the advice it gives. Good stuff.
Michael Abraham
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Paul Alexander and Mark Dever share practical ideas to build a church on the gospel. After decades of testing these ideas at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in D.C., they provide this book as an attempt to share what they've learned. This works well as a reference book.
Shaun Marksbury
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great followup to his other books on the church. This one gives some nuts-and-bolts and practical scenarios. Recommended.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Good book with lots of good advice. Sometimes he comes across as saying that his way is the only way. I dont necessarily agree with everything but it is still a good book.
Ben Laur
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid through & through, exactly what one would expect from a Mark Dever book.
Daniel Baltich
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent work challenging the church to follow the Word, not consumerism. It would have received 5 stars from me, but their view on elders is more dogmatic than it should be.
Great look at various aspects of the local church. The last section was extremely practical and helpful.
Austin Hess
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This books does a very good job of laying out the different offices in the church and the officers responsibilities (even though it is from a baptist perspective).
Philip P.
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Can't imagine a better book on how to shepherd a church--perfect balance of theory and practice, thoroughly and compellingly biblical. How I aspire to lead!
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Substance: 2/5
Readability: 1/5

NOTE: I'm a current seminary student and we were required to read only 75 pages of this one. I decided to read the entire second section, “When the Church Gathers” because I felt it would be most relevant to my current role at church.

I respected the book’s premise: that the local church ought to be “…Gospel driven and Gospel governed in everything…” The principle is novel and initially captivating – I imagine anybody would be hard pressed to find the Christian read
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pastoral, church
This is a rare book on the church which is both biblical and practical. It is not a plug and play description of programs or new ministry paradigms. Rather, it is a fresh call to biblical faithfulness to the essential tasks of the pastor in leading, preaching, praying, shepherding, and discipling.

The book is firmly grounded in a Word-centered framework for understanding the relationship between the Gospel and methodology. Briefly stated: "(1) Theology drives method . . . (2) God's methods determ
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Dever is best-known for his book Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, while his co-author on this book is the main editor for the online church resource site 9Marks. In this book, Dever & Alexander take their thoughts about ecclesiology and go about designing all of the practical issues one has to deal with in operating a church – from foundational issues like what the role of a pastor is; to the process and qualifications for selecting elders; to the role of baptism and communion as ordinances; ...more
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the clearest most Biblical books on the church that I have ever read. This book was biblical, but was not just a rehearsal of what the Bible says in theory or for the "Early Church". This book took the Biblical teachings and practically applied them to the process of church leadership and practices in real life.

I appreciated the way this book showed the functional outworking of Biblical teachings. Ideas such as carefully maintaining the membership list of the church, not for feeli
Chris Baik
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: church
The first few chapters made me a little grumpy because it felt like the book was imposing some specific kind of worship liturgy upon every church in the world and my church didn't really seem to fit the bill of some of the things the author was suggesting.

As I read more and more though, I appreciate the faithfulness to the Word and focus on the gospel. I'm glad that there is an explicit reasoning given for every small detail in this book. I've experienced a lot of frustration with vagueness in t
David Meldrum
A real mixed bag of a book, this (especially in the early parts of the book) asks some searching questions and asks them in a way that really gets the reader thinking about his or her own church. As the book moves on, however, it becomes increasingly clear that the author can't really see that churches of his own denomination and theology on certain issues. Early on he's at pains to say that this isn't a template to be applied but principles to work through, but his own approach and assumptions ...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
“But if you define success in terms of faithfulness, then you are in a position to persevere, because you are released from the demand of immediately observable results, freeing you for faithfulness to the Gospel’s message and methods, leaving numbers to the Lord.” 1 likes
“Everything teaches, whether you intend it to or not. The songs teach people doctrine and proper affections for God. Your prayers (or lack of them) teach people how to pray themselves. The kinds of prayers you pray (or don’t pray) teach people about the important differences between prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. The way you administer the ordinances teaches people about their meaning, and even the very meaning of the Gospel. Your preaching teaches people how to study and use the Bible appropriately. Everything from the call to worship to the benediction counts as teaching. Teaching is everything.” 0 likes
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