Practical Advice for the Christian Life
The things I talk about in Nine Marks of a Healthy Church are all lessons that have been important to me at various points in my pastoral life. For example, the whole idea of membership is so strange to many people today. When you begin to understand it as committed love, you begin to see why it has to do with the fruit of the Spirit, it has to do with hospitality, it has to do with evangelism and discipling others. It has to do with the responsibilities that every Christian is given when their neck is yoked with Jesus to be a part of his people.
So, it begins to get very practical in the way it shapes what your Christian life is to look like—the love that Jesus talks about in 1 John and in the Gospel of John. It’s what the love that’s to characterize every Christian should be like.
In my early years at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, I remember the significance of fleshing out for people what the love that we’re to have for each other looks like. It’s not just a pleasant disposition to be around others for an hour every week. It has to be more of an initiating concern for others’ well-being, including their spiritual well-being.
Mark Dever is the author of Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.
Ultimately, the local church makes visible what is invisible, and reflects in words and deeds the kingdom life that is to come.
It is impossible to have a faithful walk with Christ and Christian life—biblically or practically—without committed participation in a local church.
As much as a church does facilitate and organize relationships and practices, the church is more than a means to an end, a utilitarian resource for an individual Christian’s needs.
We’re a part of what the Lord is doing in the world when we’re pastoring a church or even a member of a church. We know that he will accomplish his good end.