9Marks is on the lookout for apostolic pastors. Know any?
Here’s what we have in mind: pastors who care deeply about the progress of the gospel beyond their local churches. Pastors who encourage, disciple, and partner with other pastors. Pastors who lead their congregations to link arms with other likeminded local churches for evangelism, church planting, and more. By "apostolic," we don't mean someone who is personally commissioned by Jesus to bear witness to the resurrection (Acts 1:21-22). Instead, we mean someone who shares some of the apostles' priorities and concerns, even though he doesn't share their office.
We love pastors like this, and we want to see many more of them raised up. So in this issue of the 9Marks Journal we want to help pastors catch a vision of the good that can come when they begin to feel an apostle-like concern for other pastors and churches (2 Cor. 11:28).
Apostolic pastor Mark Dever starts us off by exhorting pastors to dream beyond the four walls of their churches. My piece attempts to provide a broad biblical basis for the pastoral priorities we’re advocating in this issue. And Andy Johnson’s article asks how you’d feel if revival came—to somebody else’s church.
The articles by Matthias Lohmann, Daniel Montgomery, and Brian Croft provide glimpses of apostolic pastoring in action. I hope you’ll be encouraged and challenged by their examples.
Next we sample some of the fruits of apostolic pastoring. Baptists used to have a powerful tool for this called an “association.” You might be surprised by the good that’s come from this tool in the past, which Michael Haykin’s piece on Andrew Fuller and friends illustrates. And according to Matthew Spandler-Davison, this rusted old tool can be cleaned up and made useful again. Or, if need be, start a new one. If you do, you just might rescue a young pastor like Justin Runyan from what he calls miserable, self-imposed isolation. Finally, Robert Greene tells about the sustaining brotherhood he found in the network of pastors he belongs to, even before he joined.
Here’s the bottom line: Jesus hasn’t called our churches to fulfill the great commission alone. So look up, look out, and see what encouragement and unexpected fruit God may have in store for you as you work to bless other pastors and churches.
—Bobby Jamieson, Assistant Editor
A Vision for Apostolic Pastors
This pastor longs for more pastors who would, like the apostles, strategize to help other pastors and churches. Read more >
The great commission is bigger than your local church. How should that shape your priorities and posture as a pastor? Read more >
Our love for Jesus never shines brighter than when we rejoice in the progress of the gospel—in others’ churches. Read more >
Stories of Apostolic Pastoring
Here’s how a group of likeminded pastors came together to promote gospel growth in German churches. First step? Invite John Piper to dinner. Read more >
How can a church raise up and sustain pastors who are faithful over the long haul? That’s a question Sojourn Network is trying to answer. Read more >
From the four corners of Louisville, a growing number of pastors have been gathering for fellowship, teaching, and prayer. Here’s their story, and some of the unexpected fruits they’ve seen. Read more >
Fruits of Apostolic Pastoring
A young pastor found relief from self-imposed isolation through a new local association of ministers. Here’s how. Read more >
Michael A.G. Haykin
A small group of Baptists who read, talked, and prayed together sparked a renewal that led to the birth of the modern missions movement. What might God do through similar means today? Read more >
Pastors need to care for each other. Here’s how that care found one pastor when he needed it most. Read more >
The local Baptist association is dead. Or at least on life support. This story of turning one around provides great reasons not to pull the plug just yet. Read more >
Miscellaneous Book Reviews
It’s easy for “discipleship” and “discipling” to be mere buzzwords, labels we slap on things to make them sound spiritual. And if our churches move beyond buzzwords and try to create a culture of one-on-one discipling, it’s easy to turn even that into just one more program. Weekly meeting at Starbucks—check. Reading the Bible or a Christian book together—check. Talking about the same two or three struggles with sin every week—check. Read more >
Shawn Lovejoy loves fellow pastors and desperately wants them to thrive in ministry. But, as he explains in his book The Measure of Our Success, he fears far too many pastors feel discouragement and discontentment instead. The reason for this malaise? Pastors are using the wrong metrics for gauging successful ministry. A VIEW FROM THE TRENCHES Read more >
Conflict isn’t far from your church. I don’t simply mean that it’s in that congregation down the street—I mean it’s coming to yours. AN EXCELLENT PRIMER ON CHURCH CONFLICT Tara Barthel and David Edling have written an excellent primer on church conflict titled Redeeming Church Conflicts: Turning Crisis into Compassion and Care. With years of experience in conflict mediation through Peacemaker Ministries, they are well qualified to speak to this issue. Read more >
She’s about eight years old, slightly taller than your desk, an explosion of curls, precocious. She appears suddenly, without her parents, between church services. She’d like to know how to become a Christian. Several days later, another visitor approaches you. This time it’s the polite fiancé of a deacon’s daughter. He tells you about his relief when the campus minister told him that Buddhism was compatible with Christianity, and that the fruit of the Spirit looks like smoking a little less pot. Read more >