A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
About the Authors
Mark Dever is the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He is the president of 9Marks and has published numerous works on ecclesiology and church leadership.
Jamie Dunlop is an associate pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. He is the author of Budgeting for a Healthy Church: Aligning Finances with Biblical Priorities for Ministry.
Table of Contents
Part 1: A Vision for Community
1 Two Visions of Community
2 A Community Given by God
3 Community Runs Deep
4 Community Goes Broad
Part 2: Fostering Community
5 Preach to Equip Your Community
6 Pray Together as a Community
7 Build a Culture of Spiritually Intentional Relationships
8 Structural Obstacles to Biblical Community
Part 3: Protecting Community
9 Addressing Discontentment in the Church
10 Addressing Sin in the Church
Part 4: Community at Work
11 Evangelize as a Community
12 Fracture Your Community (for the Community of Heaven)
Part 1: A Vision for Community
Both liberal and conservative churches can grow, and even false churches that teach a false gospel can grow numerically. The truth is that God is not needed for a group of people to “build community” in a church. Although conservative evangelicals who preach the gospel may believe that their church community is therefore built upon the gospel, this may not be the case. Community relationships in the church can easily be built on demographics and similarities in life situations rather than being centered on the gospel. Many of our churches are actually characterized by sub-communities that are organized according to sociological standards rather than biblical ones. We can contrast “gospel-plus” communities where relationships are based on the gospel plus something else (affinities or similarities) vs. “gospel-revealing” communities where the relationship likely wouldn’t exist without Christ (because the people have little else in common). The latter type of community reveals the unifying power of the gospel. We are naturally attracted to gospel-plus communities, and pragmatically they seem to work. The gospel, however, reconciles people to God and to each other: it breaks down the barriers that separate people.
A gospel-centered community is marked by both its breadth and its depth. The one thing the church has in common is that everyone knows Christ, and if it wasn’t for the supernatural power of the gospel and union with Christ, the community would neither work nor exist. None of this is to say that gospel-plus friendships are completely illegitimate or that people in churches cannot find themselves sharing more in common with some people than with others. When gospel-plus relationships dominate a church, however, and everyone gets divided into demographical groups, then we are building a sociological phenomenon instead of a gospel one. Not all community is created equally. We are saved from numerous communities to become part of the family of God, and we are all part of one body. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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