Mark Dever and Paul Alexander have collaborated to produce a book that is must reading for both new and seasoned church leaders who desire to build their ministries according to the New Testament pattern. Unlike some "how to" manuals that wind up more confusing than helpful, this volume is extremely practical. Its four main sections--"Gathering the Church," "When the Church Gathers," "Gathering Elders," and "When the Elders Gather"--as their titles demonstrate, emphasize community. The chapters are short and helpful, omitting unnecessary verbiage. The principles that are delineated here have been field tested at Dever's church, which he has overseen for the better part of the past two decades. Having recently attended a "Weekender" for pastors at that church, I can attest that the guidelines discussed in this book are well in place there. "The Deliberate Church" is especially helpful for pastors who anticipate leading their fellowship into an elder-led form of government and need direction from someone who has "been there and done that." Unlike more "bulky" volumes, this is one that will pulled down from the shelf often or left open on the pastor's desk. A quick but unforgettable read.
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 doesnt claim to provide wonderfully new ways to grow. It doesnt promise quick results, doesnt 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 todays world, The Deliberate Church is iconoclastic, setting forth such revolutionary principles as preaching the Word, praying, working with Christians as if they are Christs 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 Gods 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 Devers 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 Gods glory that God Himself designed it to bean increasingly clear display of Gods wisdom and glory to the heavenly powers and to the surrounding community. (p. 202) Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews.com