The market is full of books about how to build a better church. Should you read another? Yes – And the one you should read is The Deliberate Church. This volume doesn’t claim to provide wonderfully new ways to grow. It doesn’t promise quick results, doesn’t give any synthetic plans. It does promise that the authors’ results are replicable because these results are based on Scripture; because the first requirement in replicating them is to trust Jesus who promises to build His church through the Holy Spirit and the Gospel. In today’s world, The Deliberate Church is iconoclastic, setting forth such revolutionary principles as preaching the Word, praying, working with Christians as if they are Christ’s people, waiting patiently on God, and making God the aim of worship.
Based on the experiences God provided for Mark Dever as Senior Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C., the authors discuss the growing of a church. It places the Gospel at the beginning and center of this growth, considering such subjects as trust between pastor and people, responsible evangelism, new members, discipline, roles of the various people and groups in the church, loving each other, and godly leaders. The conclusion really does conclude, drawing all information together, placing it under God’s guidance and discussing the place of the Church in the world. Several indices make this book very accessible and useful. The Deliberate Church makes a good companion to Dever’s book, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.
Although aimed at church leaders, this book gives the layperson great help and food for thought. The ending paragraph says it best, “[this book is] about a vision of a whole church…[freed] to become the holy and winsome display of God’s glory that God Himself designed it to be…an increasingly clear display of God’s wisdom and glory to the heavenly powers and to the surrounding community.” (p. 202) – Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews.com
Pastors Mark Dever and Paul Alexander provide a model of a biblical church in this resource for pastors, elders, and others interested in the vitality of their church. This highly practical book proposes an attitude of complete reliance on and submission to the Gospel in building a healthy church.