Mark Dever is known for his passion for healthy local churches. His ministry is marked by this passion. 9Marks, a para-church ministry he founded and leads, is all about teaching churches how to be healthy. Dever believes there are three essential marks that any healthy church must have and 6 more that are extremely important. Miss any of the three vital ones and there’s not much chance of getting the other 6 right. But when all nine marks are working in concert, even if not strongly, there’s a good possibility that a local church will be healthy and continuing on a path toward greater health.
Sadly, many churches in America are sick. An examination of most of them will likely reveal that one of the first three marks is missing. But if not one of the vital three, than there’s a good chance one of the other six is not treated as important and absent from the church.
In his book What is a Healthy Church? (Crossway, 2005), Dever explores why these marks are essential (the first 3), or at least important (the remaining 6). He examines the heart of the believer in regard to finding a church with these healthy marks and seeking a life that includes church health. Then, in the second half of this short book, Dever discusses each of the 9 marks of a healthy church.
This is not the only book or only place to explore these 9 marks with Mark Dever. He’s written other books, most notably, 9 Marks of a Healthy Church. The 9Marks ministry has also written booklets on each of the marks and the’ve produced scores of short videos. There’s also a Ligonier ministry series on the same topic. Dever hosts annual conferences focused on church health and he speaks about these 9 specific marks often. However, this little book serves as a easy introduction to the topic and a great overview. As an added bonus, it’s an encouraging, fun read.
Here’s a video recommendation for What is a Healthy Church?:
I highly recommend this book for anyone calling him or herself a Christian. Purchase this book wherever you buy your favorite books or simply follow this like to pick up a copy from Amazon.