It’s been silent here at the blog for a couple days because I’ve been immersed in the 9Marks Weekender at Capital Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. For several years, I have wanted to attend this four-day event, but made a commitment to myself that I would not go until I could bring another church leader along. So, one of our elders and I flew east for a long weekend and were encouraged and helped immensely. I thought I’d have time here and there to publish posts, but the weekend was so full I had no opportunity.
I first became acquainted with the ministry of 9Marks over a decade ago. I was so refreshed to find others who were simply committed to simple obedience to God’s Word in its application to church life that we added our church to its church search map immediately. Committed to helping reproduce healthy churches, this ministry derives its name from the book, 9 Marks of Healthy Church, by Mark Dever, senior pastor of CHBC. Since God has graciously revitalized our local church by the power of the Spirit through the Word and the biblical love that permeates a culture of discipleship, our hearts resonated with the simple passion of 9Marks.
Having read many of Dever’s books, I knew I was already on the same page with him on ecclesiology, a biblical philosophy of church growth, and the need for churches to simply get back to biblical ministry as modeled in the New Testament. However, we sensed that we had recently reached a point in our church, specifically in our leadership structure and interaction with our congregation, where we needed help. We needed to see how another healthy church functions “under the hood.” We needed to learn from someone whom I was confident was doing a much better job than we were. Our leaders have been discussing for some time The Deliberate Church and needed to see some parts “in action.” That’s what we went for and we were not disappointed. One specific takeaway for me personally was what I learned by observing the elders meetings function, which lined up with the biblical role and priorities in an exemplary way.
Why am I mentioning this here at Counseling One Another? Well, if you have been a reader for even a little while I trust you have begun to catch our conviction that biblical counseling is merely one of the specific out-workings of biblical discipleship in the community of the local church. Jesus commanded us to make disciples, obedient followers of Him. We do this best in the context of the local family of God where His grace and glory are displayed as sinners are saved by the gospel and transformed into the image of His Son (Rom 8:29; Eph 4:13; Col 1:28).
Since we are committed to the same biblical philosophy of discipleship and the priority of the local church in the life of the beliver in Christ, Capital Hill Baptist Church shares the same philosophy of counseling. Another highlight of the weekend was time to visit with my friend Deepak Reju, one of the associate pastors at CHBC, who is also a board member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. Check out Deepak’s resources here.
It was a great weekend! Pastors, elders, deacons, get more information about the next 9 Marks Weekender here. Your heart will be so encouraged and your hands strengthened for the ministry to which God has called you.