This is a question asked and answered by a very helpful ministry called 9Marks. It’s based out of Washington, D. C., and it’s associated with a strong gospel-preaching church called Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Mark Dever is the senior pastor of CHBC and the leader of 9Marks.
If you’re thinking of a way to strengthen the work of the gospel around the world through financial giving, this is a good one. Here’s a word from Dever on how Christians can work toward healthy, God-glorifying, life-giving congregations:
Absolutely we can help to build healthy churches. How? By listening to God’s Word. It speaks profoundly to what churches should be like. We didn’t make this up, and we are not trying to sell a marketing plan for instant growth. These nine marks are basic Bible-centered ideas on what builds a church that pleases God.
9Marks has impacted our ministry in numerous ways. They have provided resources and materials that have helped us point to scripture regarding our ecclesiology. Deliberate Church has been instrumental and has given us a framework for church membership and discipline, working together as elders and caring for our congregation. We took several elders to a Weekender last year and it was earth shattering for all of us in that it gave us a great foundation for discussing church-related issues. I can’t think of a ministry that has been more influential regarding our practical ecclesiology than 9Marks!
Here’s a partner ministry to 9Marks: Access Partners, which is working in strategic ways to spread the gospel in closed contexts around the world, including some of the hardest-to-reach places.