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9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever
Mar-Apr 2009 | Subscribe Free!

Young Pastors

"Clear vision but little depth perception." That's how I've heard Mark Dever characterize young pastors.

Young pastors see their doctrine with utter clarity. They know exactly what a church should look like. But they don't know how to assess what's important, what's really important, and what can be overlooked. Their gauges haven't developed.

Probably, the best solution for this is plain old experience. Yet a little battle wisdom from older men can't hurt, either. So we turned to several pastors who have walked a few miles down ministry's road, asking them to pass on a morsel or two of counsel.

Bob Johnson and Ken Swetland talk about getting started. Matt Schmucker, Mark Dever, and Phillip Jensen offer their thoughts on making changes. Philip Ryken and Robert Norris help us persevere to the end. And a couple of younger guys, like Aaron, Greg, and me, throw in our two cents.

One word of caution about an 9Marks Journal full of practical advice: Wisdom can be found in principles of the sort you'll find here. But wisdom always begins with a posture of heart—a heart the trusts and fears the Lord. Only this heart finds the wisdom to know which principles apply when: "Is now the time not to answer the fool according to his folly (Prov. 26:4)? Or is now the time to answer him according to his folly (Prov. 26:5)?"

Only the Lord will make your paths straight.

That means that we cannot tell you exactly how to pastor your church, unless the matter is plainly Scriptural. You're God's man for that job. So take what's offered here. Consider how it might apply in your context. But above all else, guard your heart, that it would fear only him.

We're praying for your pastoral work, reader. Pray, too, for us.

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