Book Review: What Is A Healthy Church? By Mark Dever

This book is essentially a condensed version of “Nine Marks of a Healthy Church” by Mark Dever – Pastor of a Large Conservative Baptist Church in Washington D.C. What makes this book valuable is the concise presentation of the nine practices that make for a healthy church. It is a good resource for a church staff, elder board, deacon board, or small group to go through. I used it to teach through the “nine marks” in an adult Sunday school class in the church where I am the senior pastor.

The Nine Marks of a Healthy Church are as Follows:

1)    Expository Preaching

2)    Biblical Theology

3)    A Biblical Understanding of the Good News

4)    A Biblical Understanding of Conversion

5)    A Biblical Understanding of Evangelism

6)    A Biblical Understanding Membership

7)    Biblical Church Discipline

8)    Biblical Discipleship and Growth

9)    Biblical Church Leadership

I think that any church that focuses on these areas is going to be pretty solid. However, it doesn’t guarantee health. I think character and emotional health come into play as well – e.g. – 1 Corinthians 13 talks about love being an essential quality of the church; also, many churches have good doctrine, infrastructure, and do all the above, but live in a false peace (see Peter Scazzero’s – The Emotionally Healthy Church).

Overall, I recommend this little book as an introductory primer as a good evaluation tool, containing specific areas for local churches to have a good “check list” of ideas and practices to shoot for as they seek to be more Biblical in what they do when they gather together as a local church body. For more detail then what Dever writes in this book – I would recommend the slightly larger book – Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.