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The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  925 ratings  ·  85 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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Brian Whittaker
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'll be coming back to this book time and time again. It provides an excellent overview of what a gospel-driven church ought to look like, from the role of the pastor, church membership, the Sunday services, as well as choosing elders and leading elders meetings. It combines well both practical tips for what ministry looks like on the ground (e.g. circulating a memo to elders before the meeting, the senior pastor not always chairing the elders meeting) as well as the theological convictions whic ...more
Neil Kruger
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ecclesiology
This is not just another book trying to argue for a ministry method that will guarantee success. Rather, the church, according to the simple preaching of God's Word should be deliberately Godward-focused and outward-focused.

I was helped by the many practical insights. Much of the book emphasizes church leadership and is therefore directed towards pastors and elders. This is another key emphasis as it conforms to the Bible's emphasis on the responsibility that church leaders have to direct and sh
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. ...more
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.
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
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
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ecclesiology
This book is - in part - Mark Dever’s response to the church growth movement. It serves this purpose very well. Pastor Dever drives home the importance of staying true to Scripture over and above pragmatism, while simultaneously providing practical insights for the ministry of the church.

One of the most beneficial aspects of the book are his insistence on patience and humility. These two things - both because of human nature and because of the culture we live in - are severely lacking in modern
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.
Joshua Reichard
May 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book is a great read if you are a new pastor or are interesting in a short read about church life. Dever is a studied, practiced, and wise man who has spent most of his life seeking to conform the church back to scripture. Though I would disagree with minor things overall I think Dever has done a magnificent job at shaping the church to the NT church. Thankful for Mark Dever.
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.
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.
Brandon A. Blake
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.
Dennis Thurman
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Powerful and practical. The message is thoroughly Biblical and systematically presented. Every chapter seems to feature a poignant, memorable phrase, sentence, or paragraph. It is a textbook for leading the church in a deliberate fashion to accomplish God’s mission.
Justin Feland
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent blend of experienced pastoral wisdom and careful biblical theology. Though I take issue with Denver’s Congregationalism (being from an elder rule church), there were many tidbits that I gleaned from this book. Very helpful. Highly recommend for church leadership at any level.
Jeremy Mueller
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a like toolshed. It contains countless practicals sections on building the ministry of a local church. For those in ministry, seeking to be in ministry, or those looking to understand the ministry outworkings of another, this book is for you.
Dan Mason
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If someone came to me and said, “I need one book that will tell me everything I need to know to pastor a church,” I would say that’s impossible. But if I needed to pick one, this is a very good choice. Comprehensive, accessible, biblical, and very practical.
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.
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.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid through & through, exactly what one would expect from a Mark Dever book. ...more
Great look at various aspects of the local church. The last section was extremely practical and helpful.
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.
Kyle  McC
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an awesome guide for how to conduct the business of the church and how to actively engage members and elders in the spreading the Gospel of Christ and conducting the work of the church.
Ben Robin
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is packed full of practical pastoral advice from a seasoned pastor who speaks to you like a true friend.
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Honestly, I only read the chapters that would pertain to me, the chapters on worship. The rest will be much more applicable for my husband. Great writing, practical and theological insights.
Joel Zartman
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Joel Rockey
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Refreshing book on church ministry.
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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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“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
“Briefly, the Regulative Principle states that everything we do in a corporate worship gathering must be clearly warranted by Scripture. Clear warrant can either take the form of an explicit biblical command, or a good and necessary implication of a biblical text.” 1 likes
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