My new friend Mark Redfern has requested a review of The Deliberate Church by Mark Dever and Paul Alexander. I am thankful and humbled by his request and desire to sharpen me. However, I am only able to record a few of my thoughts on this book for the following reasons:
1. After my quick read of The Deliberate Church, I resolved to study all of Dever's books on the church together at one time in the near future. I have applied to attend a "Weekender" at Dever's church next year and so the logical time to study his books would be as close as possible to this "Weekender." I want to go equipped to ask him a ton of questions and I need some time to soak in his ideas.
2. I am currently working on a lengthy review of The Enemy Within by Kris Lungaard.
With that said, I can offer some of my first impressions of The Deliberate Church:
1. The subtitle is what originally drew me to this book: "Building your ministry on the gospel."
I want to know how to build my ministry on the gospel!
2. This is a fantastic book that is even now shaping much of my thoughts, desires, and plans for the future. Honestly, my world is being turned upside down because of several of Dever's ideas in this book.
3. My main problem with this book: I need more details, examples, and "how to's." I minister in a church where if I was to implement Dever's ideas, I would be kicked out in a hurry. Of course, Dever is adamant about being patient and moving slowly; however, it would take a complete overhaul of everything! Just to give you some examples of things I would like to see happen in my church that would be impossible right now:
a. Dever advises pastors to clean their membership rolls.
b. Dever is against multiple services.
c. Dever is obviously for Elder-led churches. This issue in and of itself would split my church (them against me).
d. Dever is against specialized staffing (i.e. youth minister, music minister, education minister, etc.).
4. This is a book every pastor should read and seek to implement. If God ever gives me the privilege of shepherding a flock, this book will be on the shelf closest to my desk for easy access.