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What Is a Healthy Church?

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,315 ratings  ·  145 reviews
What is an ideal church, and how can you tell?

How does it look different from other churches? More importantly, how does it act differently, especially in society? Many of us aren't sure how to answer those questions, even though we probably have some preconceived idea. But with this book, you don't have to wonder any more.

Author Mark Dever seeks to help believers recogniz
...more
Hardcover, 127 pages
Published June 19th 2007 by Crossway Books (first published 2007)
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Josh Miller
Jan 10, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Dever's opening words absolutely grabbed my attention (see below):

"Sometimes college campus ministries will ask me to speak to their students. I've been known, on several occasions, to begin my remarks this way: "If you call yourself a Christian but you are not a member of the church you regularly attend, I worry that you might be going to hell."

You could say that it gets their attention.

Now, am I just going for shock value? I don't think so. Am I trying to scare them into church membership? Not
...more
LeAna Randolph
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! Simple but to the point. We all, brothers and sisters in Christ alike, need a crash course on what a healthy church looks like and how to be a active part of a healthy church. A must read for every believer!
Troy McGahan
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book has been a great read. Not because I agree with all of his conclusions or even believe he rightly applies every Scripture properly (no man is perfect on his understanding of God's Word) but, because he makes some points. I am preaching a series the Church I Pastor about a "Healthy Church". Now I am preaching a series on the "Characteristics of a Healthy Church". This book has been a great help in both series. I appreciate Dever and his books on this subject. I do recommend this book ...more
Brenda
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challies-2017
Good thoughts about what a healthy, Biblical church looks like, divided into "essential" marks and "important" marks. ...more
Jeff Short
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is based on Dever's larger work, "Nine Marks of a Healthy Church," and is a briefer and more practical treatment of what a healthy church should look like. He does briefly touch on each of the nine marks, but he divides them into essential marks and important marks. I appreciate how he emphasizes that the Bible is the rule of faith and practice. He asks for a hearing and that if the reader disagrees with his conclusions, it will be because, through studying the Bible, the reader believ ...more
Heather
Sep 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is highly reccomended, don't worry, it's a quick read.

What is essential in a local church? What is important? What really doesn't matter?
I'm seeing the local church in a whole new way! I don't mean to say Mark is writing things I've never heard before, he's just putting them all together for me. I've been humbled by this book and can't say enough about it.
...more
Peter Phillips
Jun 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great short treatment on the doctrine of the church! Excellent for pastors and church members alike!
Andrew Dallas
Feb 18, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This book does exactly what it promises. This is a great resource to share with a friend who may have questions about what the church should be, what God’s purposes for the church are, or how that should be played out in the life of the church. Scriptural in its defense, concise in its argument, and pastoral in its writing, this is a wonderful resource.
As a side note, this is essentially a condensed version of the material in “9 Marks of a Healthy Church” and is written more for laypeople than c
...more
Joseph Abudar
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Solid, quick and easy-to-read!
Matt
Jun 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Helpful little primer on what it means to be a healthy church and the responsibility of striving for that health as a church member
Sydney Abel
Dec 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
The first book read to discuss what it means to be a member of a local church, in this case, Highlands Community Church.

Garrett and I got asked to be apart of this “re-building Highlands membership” team and it’s been awesome. I love how we have been unpacking the basics… such as:

- what does it mean to be a Christian? To believe in Jesus and have faith in the gospel
- who is Jesus? The God-man
- why Jesus? Because He is our only way to the Father. He lived the perfect life we never could, and di
...more
Barbara
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mark Dever opens What Is a Healthy Church? by pointing out that much of what we look for in a church is determined by our own particular culture: the type of music, pastor, preaching, etc., that we’re used to. He encourages readers to consider Biblical marks of a healthy church. Why does he address a book like this to Christians in general rather than church leaders? Because, he points out, most of the NT epistles, which contain much instruction about church as well as personal life, were writte ...more
Adam
Dec 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, philosophy
"You and I cannot demonstrate love or joy or peace or patience or kindness sitting all by ourselves on an island. No, we demonstrate it when the people we have committed to loving give us good reasons not to love them, but we do anyway."

In this small book, Mark Dever surveys the role of the Church (and the church) in the lives of the Christian. He shows how life in the "body of Christ" is a vital component of Christianity.

I think the thing I liked most about the book is that it is very practical
...more
Marguerite Harrell
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am reading this book for the second time. I am trying to encourage other to join church since they aren't going to church but staying at home. It is sad to see my Christian friends being burned out from going to church. How can we encourage one another to start going to church again? Looking forward to finish this book later this week. I know this is a great book and I do wish that every people that is currently not going to church to read this book and those who are currently looking for the ...more
Troy
Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
A great little book on what a healthy church looks like. What I appreciated about it was that it was not a dissertation on how to become a healthy church, though you should take the markers of health and strive to make them a reality in your church, instead it was a picture of the things that would be evident in a community that was healthy. This book was short and easy to read, a great resource for anyone in the church.
Alex Shepard
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very transformative the first time I read it, but the second time it was more of a helpful reminder of what should describe a church. Dever lays out how a church can submit to God's Word in every aspect for His glory. This book is a great explanation of what to look for in a church as the Bible prescribes.

"A healthy church is a congregation that increasingly reflects God’s character as His character is revealed in His Word."
...more
B
Aug 19, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book despite having listened to the 9 marks series. I found it to be just the right size to use as a sort of handbook or to give to someone considering a church situation or looking for a church. The content is solidly planted in the Bible & concisely & clearly presented.
Sarah
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent little book on the "why and how" of a healthy church. I read it to be reminded and encouraged of the importance of the local church, and was. ...more
Ben Robin
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a spectacular little introduction to the 9Marks corpus, and thus, the biblical design and definition of a healthy church.
Mwansa
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A heart wrenching read that brought me face to face with my own inadequacies and failure to be plugged into the word concerning my efforts within the church. Each member has duty to perform toward his fellow members as well as the outside world in living a bible centered life that mirrors the life of Christ. More often than not we consider leaving a church if things don’t seem to be going well for us in one way or another. In this book Mark Dever takes us through the marks of a healthy church as ...more
Bro. Austin McCormick
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Imogen
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Blunt, clear and surprisingly humble, this short book is worth a read. Dever claims that it's not just for church leaders, but for anyone who calls themselves a Christian. And as someone who is not in church leadership but would call myself a Christian, it's understandable, well set out and easily digestible. As it is written with an American readership in mind, and I attend an evangelical Anglican church in the UK, there are a few things I found hard to relate to - talking about the importance ...more
Ryan Hawkins
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology, ministry, church
Not as good as I hoped it would be. That being said, it clearly is a shorter version of a much longer book, and you can tell many of his ideas he is cutting short and explaining fast in order to avoid writing too long. So, I think the idea of a healthy church with these 9 marks is commendable and right. I just think this book wasn't as interesting, compelling, or convincing.

Yet, on each of the marks, he has some good insights--particularly about conversion, evangelism, and eldership. It just se
...more
Kacie Woodmansee
I thought this book did a good job of sharing the importance of the local church and the essential and important characteristics of a healthy church. In a day when church hopping is the norm and people leave a church because bless you when they sneezed, it's critical to know what the Bible says about the local church. The book was concise but contained enough information for someone to analyze their view of the church as a whole as well as the health of their own church. One of the most importan ...more
Joel Sunny
Nov 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Mark Dever's progress through the book was very organic. He starts with the fundamental truth of the gospel and who a Christian is. He argues the need for a church to a Christian and makes a strong distinction between being part of the universal church and local church. He explains how they are important before stating the markers of a healthy church. I liked the distinctions he makes between the most essential markers and how they are all directly linked to scripture. Another thing that stood o ...more
Ray
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really liked this book. Reminded me what is important to look for in a church. Not only that but how to help my current church to be a healthy or healthier church. It isn't just leaderships job to create a healthy church, it is also responsibility of church members as well. We are all in this together. Also liked the reminder that no church is perfect because we are all sinners. We all know this, but was refreshing how he approached this. He urges people to take great care before leaving a churc ...more
Mitch Bedzyk
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
A short, accessible, and important work on the marks of a healthy church. It is basically a condensed version of Dever's popular book, 9 Marks of a Healthy Church.

In part 1, Dever begins by establishing what a healthy church is, why Christians must be a part of a church, and why churches should strive to be healthy. In Part 2 he tackles the three "essential" marks of a healthy church: expositional preaching, biblical theology, and the gospel. In part 3, he discusses the "important" marks of a h
...more
Kyle Briggs
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Compressed version of Mark Dever's book Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. Excellent read with a ton of biblical content to make you think...In what areas is my church doing well in?...Poorly in?...Is my church a healthy (read: biblical) place for me to be in? If not, how do I graciously leave and what do I look for in a new church?....Oh, this thing is something we should be doing. Maybe someone should change or start doing that. Maybe I should be the one to take the initiative and do something. C ...more
Jordan Brown
Mar 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
You need your church and your church needs you. Want to know what a healthy church looks like? This short book will bring biblical clarity to anyone searching.

"You and all the members of your church, Christian, are finally responsible before God for what your church becomes, not your pastors and other leaders—you."

Nine marks of a healthy church:
1. Expositional Preaching
2. Biblical Theology
3. A Biblical Understanding of the Good News
4. A Biblical Understanding of Conversion
5. A Biblical Understa
...more
Trisha
Jun 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-church
Simple and straightforward. I would suggest Nine Marks of a Healthy Church for a much deeper study, but this is useful as an "introduction" to a church for prospective members or guests (almost like a "This is the biblical rationale behind the way we do things here") - which is the reason I read it. I also think it could guide someone who is a new believer, but isn't sure whether the theology and practice of their church is built on Scripture or not. ...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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