Monday, November 28, 2005

Discipling and Ecclesiology

Discipling and ecclesiology go together. Over the past several years I have been developing a philosophy of minsitry that centered on Disciplemaking, but I have relized that I may have been looking at just the infrstructure of a church without dealing with the ecclesiology. Mark Dever's book 9 Marks of a healthy church is an excellect and gracious study of 9 biblical practices that have been neglected in our church growth models. They include: "Expository Preaching, Biblical theology, Biblical Understanding of the Gospel, Biblical Understanding of Conversion, Biblical Understanding of Evangelism, Biblical Understanding of Church Membership, Biblical Church Discipline, Promotion of Christian Discipleship and Growth, and Biblical Leadership." (you can study these more at www.9marks.org)

As you can see the first 5 deal with our message and the next 4 deal with disciplemaking. I think these practices and concerns are important today. And even though this list is not an exhaustive list of what makes the church healthy today, I think that in our desire for numbers today we are creating churches that neglect really important issues.

Mark Dever says "...our model of church growth strikes at the very heart of what we say we believe, and what we intend to do about it. The way we define church growth will determine the way we measure it. The way we measure it will determine how we pursue it. How we pursue it will determine our effectiveness in achieving it. And what it is that we actually achieve will determine whether or not our churches honor God's plans, goals, and values for the local church. As you can well see, there is much more at stake here than initially meets the eye." (Teacher Notes - Mark 8)

I think that you will want to see Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel by Mark Dever and Paul Allexander that is comminig out this fall for even more practical application of a biblical philosophy of ministry that can run upstream of current trends.

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