I first became acquainted with 9Marks about five years ago when a friend of mine pointed me to Mark Dever’s book 9 Marks of a Healthy Church. Since then, I have read virtually all of the free resources on their website, listened to all of their leadership interviews, and attended a Weekender at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. With each encounter, I only gain more respect and appreciation for 9Marks. As a result, I want other Christians to benefit from 9Marks as much as I have. I contacted 9Marks; and Bobby Jamieson, their Assistant Editor, graciously agreed to participate in this interview and book giveaway.
9Marks has its roots in the pastoral work of Mark Dever and Matt Schmucker at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. This congregation had been in decline for several decades when Mark (pastor) and Matt (administrator/elder) began to reform it in the early 1990s. The two didn’t follow the conventional wisdom of church growth literature—conduct surveys, establish new programs, or cultivate the right culture. They just opened their Bibles. Mark preached, and both men worked to structure the church after the Scriptures.
At Matt’s prompting, Mark wrote the self-published booklet “9 Marks of a Healthy Church,” which several years later became the Crossway published book Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. As more and more pastors found the conversations begun by Mark and Matt helpful, an organization was birthed in the late nineties, which has grown little by little since then.
9Marks believes the local church is the focal point of God’s plan for displaying his glory to the nations, and that the Bible is sufficient for the life of the church. As an organization, therefore, we are church-focused, scripture-focused, and pastor-focused. We value a multiplicity of voices and styles as well as like-minded partnerships. We hope to continue growing in our own knowledge of God’s Word and its application to the local congregation. And we intend to spread our content through existing venues, platforms, and institutions, not to create new ones.
Bobby writes new web and print material and helps edit the eJournal. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies, Bobby was a pastoral intern at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. He is an MDiv student at Southern Seminary, and he lives with his wife and daughter in Louisville, Kentucky.
1. What is the purpose of 9Marks as it relates to the local church, the SBC, and Evangelicalism as a whole?
Here’s our mission statement: 9Marks exists to equip church leaders with a biblical vision and practical resources for displaying God’s glory to the nations through healthy churches.
With regard to local churches, we mainly want to speak to, provide resources to, and encourage pastors and other church leaders so that they would grow in their knowledge of what the Bible says about the church and in their ability to lead their churches to live it out. So in a sense, we’re always trying to talk to local churches, almost always through their pastors and other leaders. We believe that the local church is the focal point of God’s plan to display his glory to the nations, and we want to encourage churches toward biblical health.
Regarding the SBC, for the last three years we have exhibited at the convention, giving away books and hosting nightly events called 9Marks at 9, where we’ve heard from men such as Al Mohler, Paige Patterson, Danny Akin, and David Platt. And we are grateful for our partnership with SBC entities such as Southeastern Seminary, where we host an annual conference each fall.
As far as how our purpose specifically relates to the SBC, or more specifically, to churches within the SBC, I’d simply say that we want to encourage Southern Baptist pastors and churches to embrace expositional preaching, biblical theology, a right understanding of the gospel, conversion, and evangelism, to practice meaningful membership, biblical church discipline, genuine discipleship, and biblical church leadership.
Regarding evangelicalism as a whole, we are happy to encourage and minister to faithful, gospel-preaching churches from a wide range of denominations. The biblical marks of church health that we focus on are by no means the exclusive prerogative of Baptists. So we are very happy to encourage evangelical Anglicans, Presbyterians, Bible church folks, non-denominational churches, and many others toward biblical church health.
2. How has 9Marks worked to fulfill this purpose based on its work in the past, its work in the present, and its work planned for the future?
Throughout its existence 9Marks has:
- Published books and other resources. It began with the “Nine Marks of a Healthy Church booklet,” then came the book Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, and now we’ve published well over a dozen books, with more on the way.
- Hosted conferences. We’ve been running Weekenders three times a year for several years, we host workshops a handful of times each year throughout the country (and internationally), and we recently began an annual conference at Southeastern. Click here for a full listing of upcoming events.
- Provided other resources for church leaders. See more on this below.
3. What free resources are available from 9Marks to help fulfill your purpose?
Everything on our website is free except our books. This includes:
- hundreds of Q&A’s;
- dozens of audio interviews Mark Dever has conducted with other pastors and scholars, along with other audio resources such as conference messages;
- our eJournal, which is a bi-monthly collection of articles and book reviews for pastors (our most recent issue is on pastoral staff; click here to subscribe);
- hundreds of book reviews, mainly on books related to the church and pastoral ministry;
- a blog featuring a number of voices;
- a “church search” tool with over 2,000 churches listed;
4. What books are available from 9Marks to help fulfill your purpose?
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever
What Is A Healthy Church? by Mark Dever
What Is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile
The Deliberate Church by Mark Dever and Paul Alexander
A Display of God’s Glory by Mark Dever
By Whose Authority by Mark Dever
What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love by Jonathan Leeman
Am I Really a Christian? by Mike McKinley
Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church by Michael Lawrence
Church Planting Is for Wimps by Mike McKinley
It Is Well by Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence
Reverberation by Jonathan Leeman
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever
What Does God Want of Us, Anyway? By Mark Dever
Polity: Biblical Arguments on How to Conduct Church Life by Mark Dever
(Click here for more information about all of our books.)
5. What other ministries would you recommend that are like-minded with 9Marks?
Out of the many I could mention I’ll pick just two:
- Matthias Media – We love their book The Trellis and the Vine. And their evangelistic presentation “Two Ways to Live.” And they’ve got lots of other good resources.
- Christianity Explored – An excellent evangelistic resource. They’ve now also got an excellent website featuring some really compelling testimonies. And they’ve got some good follow-up studies too, such as Discipleship Explored.
I want to thank Bobby and 9Marks for their time and ministry. You have been very gracious. Pastors all over the world are indebted to your work. Continue on for God’s glory alone!
9Marks has graciously agreed to giveaway the following 4 books with this interview: 4 Books on SBCVoices and 4 Books on My Site as well. You are free to enter both giveaways (Scroll Down to Enter the Giveaway Through Punchtab):
1. Am I Really a Christian? by Mike McKinley
2. What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert
3. The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love by Jonathan Leeman
4. Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church by Michael Lawrence
*These books are valued at over $39.00.
*We can only ship to the continental United States. No overseas shipping. Sorry.
*The giveaway ends on Friday evening, August 5, 2011.
*Rss readers may need to click through. Also, sometimes PunchTab is a little slow loading; so, if you see a blank page, wait a few seconds, and it should load.
*I will announce the giveaway winner on Saturday August 6, 2011.