Mailbag #31: Healthy Membership before Healthy Eldership; Difficult Shepherding Situation; Ordination; TithingBy Jonathan Leeman | 02.25.2016
— Do we first educate our people about elders and deacons and then install them—or do we educate them about meaningful membership and then make meaningful membership part of how we operate? — One of our members refused to come to church because our building and people remind her of past pain. How can we shepherd her well? — What is the biblical view of ordination to the pastorate? — What is your view on tithing concerning New Testament believers?
Mailbag #30: Non-Members Serving in Church; A Prospective Elder Who Doesn’t Regularly Attend; The Problem with Contemporary Christian Music; How Younger Members Can Serve Older OnesBy Jonathan Leeman | 02.18.2016
— Is it wise to let non-members serve in behind-the-scenes ministries? What about children and teens who aren’t members but profess to be believers? — Should regular attendance be an implicit qualification for elders? — It appears my church enjoys shallow and theologically suspect songs. What should I do? — What are some ways that a younger church member can positively influence older members with regards to sound doctrine?
Your doctrine of conversion will push or drive—like an engine—your ministerial practices in this direction or that.
Mailbag #29: On “Thin” and “Thick” Statements of Faith; Relationship between Lord’s Supper and Membership; Small Group Leaders Who Aren’t Church MembersBy Jonathan Leeman | 02.09.2016
— Are there certain doctrinal difference for which you would not allow someone to join your church? — Should those who refuse to join a church refrain from taking the Lord’s Supper? — We’re starting a small group ministry at our church, but one of the leaders refuses to join our church. Should this small group be connected to our church?
Mailbag #28: Are “Unequally Yoked” Marriages Always Sin?; Can You Discipline over Sins of Omission?; Is Dancing Acceptable in Corporate Gatherings?By Jonathan Leeman | 01.26.2016
— Are marriages between Christians and non-Christians always sin? What if they have children together? — Is it wise to discipline over sins of omissions, like husbands who don’t love their wives well? — Is dancing acceptable in corporate gatherings?
Mailbag #27: What to Do in the Case of an Unbiblical Divorce; How to Respond to the Threat of Violence in the ChurchBy Jonathan Leeman | 01.18.2016
— If a married couple goes through with an unbiblical divorce, what does a faithful pastoral response look like? — What would be the proper response for churches to take when faced with the threat of violence by a person with a gun during a service or some other gathering of members?
When Jesus and the apostles talked about church government, it wasn’t just a discussion of bureaucratic decision-making. It was most fundamentally and importantly a matter of discipleship!
Mailbag #26: Discipling the Arrogant; Hiring a Pastor Who Isn’t Convinced on His View of Baptism; Must Only Elders Baptize?By Jonathan Leeman | 01.11.2016
— How should you disciple someone who seems puffed up and arrogant in their perception of the Scriptures and their interpretations? — Must a pastoral candidate be fully convinced on their view of baptism, even if they are willing to submit to the prospective church’s teaching? — What restrictions, if any, should be placed on who can administer the ordinance of baptism, provided the baptism is under the authority of a local church?
Mailbag #25: Thinking through Church Budgets; My Congregation Demands an “Altar Call”; Tricky Membership SituationBy Jonathan Leeman | 12.22.2015
— How do you lead a church through thinking through the budget in a way that obeys God? Further, how do you do this in a way that is “above-reproach” when leading the overall church through polity change? — My congregation begs for me to do a weekly “altar call,” but I am opposed to them. What should I do? — An elderly couple with health problems wants to join our church—but they won’t ever be able to attend. What do you think?
Mailbag #24: What Happens to Infants Who Die; Thinking through Civil Disobedience; Calling Out False Teachers by NameBy Jonathan Leeman | 12.14.2015
— What happens to infants who die? Do they go to heaven? — How should Christians think through the category of “civil disobedience”? — Should pastors call out false teachers by name?
Mailbag #23: Giving Feedback on Bad Sermons; Ratio among Staff and Non-Staff Pastors; Church Covenants and the Regulative Principle; Difference between “Pastors” & “Elders”?By Jonathan Leeman | 12.07.2015
— How do you give your pastor feedback for his sermons, particularly when they are bad? — Jonathan, why did you recommend that your church eliminate the requirement that there must be more lay elders than staff elders? — Wait a second! You’re saying you won’t do baby dedications because of the regulative principle. And then right after that, you talk about reading the church covenant together as a church. Isn’t that a violation of the regulative principle, too? — Does it create two tiers of leadership to always call staff pastors “pastors” and lay elders “elders”?
Mailbag #22: Thinking Through Pastoral Transitions; Loving Those Who Repeatedly Commit Sexual Sin; Declaring Membership BankruptcyBy Jonathan Leeman | 11.30.2015
— What are some best practices for thinking through pastoral searches? — If someone is repeatedly falling into sexual sin, yet repeatedly professes repentance and sorrow, is there ever an occasion to disbelieve them? — I’ve heard of churches deleting their membership rolls so that they can start over and have a membership that better reflects attendance. What do you think of this practice?
Mailbag #21: Must Preachers Be Seminary-Trained?; Baby Dedications; Elders Disagreeing Over CalvinismBy Jonathan Leeman | 11.23.2015
— Should we expect preachers to be seminary-trained? — Do baby dedications violate the regulative principle? — I’m a Calvinist, but does this mean all my fellow elders must be as well?
Mailbag #20: Preaching Suspect Texts; Preaching to Non-Believers; Difficulties with Staff & Lay Elders; Anonymous or Public VotingBy Jonathan Leeman | 11.16.2015
— In the course of preaching through a book, what should I do when I come across a suspect text like John 8? — Should we preach repentance and faith differently to non-Christians than we do to Christians? — How can I tell the difference between what belongs in an elders meeting and what belongs in a staff meeting? — Should votes for church discipline be cast publicly or privately?