A couple of years ago I read Mark Dever and Paul Alexander’s excellent book The Deliberate Church. Recently a friend of mine as well as a couple other people have made mention of this book. I thought it would be helpful to journey through this book with a few other believers. It has been awhile since I read it and could certainly use other believers to think through some of these issues—especially others from different churches. I will attempt to summarize each chapter (so maybe those that are not reading the book can still follow along) and then ask a few questions that we can discuss in the comments.
If you have not bought this book yet, you really should. It is only $8.99.
Dever wonders ‘why did you buy this book’? Accident, discouraged, wanting to make an impact, disillusioned, or looking for new life in your church (the next great thing)? Regardless of the reason for your purchase (or following along with us as we read through it) it is important to know from the beginning what this book is not. It is not new, it is not a program, and it is not a quick fix. This book is not about innovation it is about biblical faithfulness.
Dever defines the purpose simply as this: “To be deliberate about treating the biblical Gospel as that which feeds the church’s growth, drives its progress, and governs every aspect of the church’s corporate life and leadership.” (21)
The foreword is closed out by asking a very important question: Is it replicable? Thankfully, it is absolutely replicable. It is important as well to catch what Dever says on page 23, “[these] are not intended to be taken as either exhaustive or exclusive, but simply as an attempt to revive a warm conversation about how we feed, lead, and protect the flock of God.” It will take patience and it depends on the sovereignty of God. The goal is faithfulness.
“Healthy growth takes time, prayer, hard work, patience and perseverance.” (20)
“Our goal isn’t to see how innovative we can be. Our goal is to see how faithful we can be.” (21)
“…human method has to remain plain, or else it will naturally supplant the Gospel’s rightful role…the Gospel is cast in bold relief against the backdrop of our own admitted weakness.” (22)
- So why did you buy this book? Or why do you want to discuss it?
- What do you think of this statement: “When the Gospel enjoys functional centrality, the church gains traction in the culture…”?
- This one is from the book: “Does the Gospel enjoy functional centrality in your church? Why or why not? Are there ways in which your current model of ministry might siphon off the glory of the Gospel for itself? How so?
- What other thoughts and questions do you have?