Editor’s Note

Journal
11.13.2012

Do you want to hear, like, the coolest thing?

I live in a city where there are lots of powerful people. Big timers, you know. When these people show up at an embassy reception or a private party on Capitol Hill, you can see the turning heads and hear the whispers—“Hey, isn’t that…?” They get the best seats and the special introductions—“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re grateful we could have with us tonight…”

But that is not what’s cool. What’s cool is that at when you show up at my church, things are different. Sometimes the big timers show up, and, sure, maybe a few heads turn. But do you know who I have watched receive special honor in the congregation, even double honor (1 Tim. 5:17)? The elders.

Honestly, it’s kind of weird. It is like there is a different social economy at play. A person gains a certain social status in the life of the body not because he is a two-star general, or works for the White House, or holds office, for as much honor such individuals may deserve for other reasons. Instead, it is the men who have been congregationally recognized as “above reproach” and “able to teach” who receive something like reverence. It genuinely feels unworldly, especially in this town. Do Americans even know what true reverence is?

Not all men are called to elder. And people can do Christ’s work through their careers in a number of ways. But I have to admit, I love watching this! Young people enter the church, spend several years here, and, somehow, begin to love the Lord and his Bride in new and profound ways, such that they become willing, if called, to make sacrifices to careers. Somewhere along the way they become ambitious about tending to hurting sheep, sharing the gospel, showing hospitality, teaching God’s Word, and praying name-by-name for the congregation.

I am not talking about the men who leave their careers to enter vocational ministry. I am talking about the men who remain in their careers, but who begin to shepherd anyway. These are the men I admire so much. They move from the prestigious firm to the peripheral firm; they take the pay cut; they let themselves get passed over for promotion. Why? Because they love the sheep, and they cannot help but spend the time it takes to shepherd sheep. No, not everyone has this call, but every individual who does provides one more piece of evidence for something counter-cultural going on, and I rejoice. I could name dozens of men like this: Chris, Bill, Scott, Eric, Michael, David, Dave, Randy, Steve, Papu, Sebastian, Klon, Greg…want me to keep going?

This issue of the 9Marks Journal and the next are devoted to these men: lay elders, or the pastors that a church doesn’t pay, because they do all their work in the evenings and weekends. In this issue, Jeramie Rinne and Sebastian Traeger lay out the basic expectations for the job. Garrett Kell and Michael McKinley offer counsel on raising up such men within the flock. And Garrett, Steve Boyer, and I offer a few thoughts on equipping them once the work has begun.

In January, we will come back to address the relationship between staff and lay elders, building unity and friendship among the elders, and other practical matters. Stay tuned! 

By:
Jonathan Leeman

Jonathan Leeman is the Editorial Director of 9Marks, and an elder at Cheverly Baptist Church in Cheverly, Maryland. You can find him on Twitter at @JonathanLeeman.

Complementarianism: A Moment of Reckoning

Complementarianism: A Moment of Reckoning

December 2019

The Heart of the Gospel: Penal Substitutionary Atonement

August 2019
Purchase a Print Edition
Church Membership: Following the Lord Together

Church Membership: Following the Lord Together

May 2019
Purchase a Print Edition

Ecclesiology for Calvinists

February 2019
Purchase a Print Edition
The Pastor and Pornography

The Pastor and Pornography

October 2018
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoral Burnout: Its Causes & Cures

July 2018
Purchase a Print Edition

Church Life: Our True Political Witness

Spring 2018
Purchase on Amazon

Church Discipline: Medicine for the Body

January 2018
Purchase on Amazon

The Reformation and Your Church

Fall 2017
Purchase a Print Edition

Church Mergers and Plants

Summer 2017
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoring Singles

Spring 2017
Purchase a Print Edition

Healthy Churches around the World

Fall / Winter 2016
Purchase a Print Edition

Authority: God’s Good and Dangerous Gift

Summer/Fall 2016
Purchase a Print Edition

The Church Praying

Spring 2016
Purchase a Print Edition

Confessions, Covenants, and Constitutions: How to Organize Your Church

Winter 2016
Purchase a Print Edition

Missions: Adding Wisdom to Zeal

December 2015
Purchase a Print Edition

Multi-Ethnic Churches

Summer/Fall 2015
Purchase a Print Edition

Expositional Preaching

Spring 2015
Purchase a Print Edition

Complementarianism & the Local Church

Winter 2015
Purchase a Print Edition

Vanishing Church?

Fall 2014
Purchase a Print Edition

Biblical Theology: Guardian and Guide of the Church

Summer 2014
Purchase a Print Edition

The Church Singing

May–June 2014
Purchase a Print Edition

Prosperity Gospel

January–February 2014
Purchase a Print Edition

Evangelism – Part 2

November–December 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Evangelism – Part 1

September–October 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Is Scripture Enough?

July–August 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Church and Churches

May—June 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoring Christians for the Workplace

March—April 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Lay Elders: A User’s Guide—Part 2

Jan—Feb 2013
Purchase a Print Edition

Lay Elders: A User’s Guide – Part 1

November—December 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Discipling in the Church

September—October 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Mercy Ministry in the Church

July—August 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Wanted: Apostolic Pastors

May—June 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

The Underestimated Doctrine of Conversion

March—April 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Don’t Be Too Cool for Sunday School

January—February 2012
Purchase a Print Edition

Revitalize: Why We Must Reclaim Dying Churches—and How

November—December 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

The Pastor and his Staff, Part 2

September—October 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

The Pastor and his Staff, Part 1

July—August 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

Church Membership: Holding the Body Together

May—June 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

Church and Parachurch: Friends or Foes?

March—April 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoral Moves

January—February 2011
Purchase a Print Edition

Book Reviews on the Mission of the Church

November—December 2010
Purchase a Print Edition

Hell: Remembering the Awful Reality

September—October 2010
Purchase a Print Edition

Pastoring Women

July—August 2010
Purchase a Print Edition
Journal about Deacons

Deacons

May - June 2010
Purchase a Print Edition

A New Evangelical Liberalism

January—February 2010

Church Discipline (Part 2)

November—December 2009

Church Discipline (Part 1)

September—October 2009

Missions

July—August 2009

Multi-site Churches

May—June 2009

Young Pastors

March–April 2009

Raising Up the Next Generation of Pastors

January–February 2009

Counseling in the Church

November–December 2008

Family & Parenting

September–October 2008

Marriage & Pastor’s Wives

July—August 2008

Living As a Church

May–June 2008

Cooperation

March–April 2008

Corporate Prayer

January–February 2008

Church & Culture

November–December 2007

Race and Ethnicity

September—October 2007

The Gospel

July–August 2007

Preaching

May–June 2007

Elders (Part 2)

March–April 2007

Hospitality & Friendship

January 2007

Elders (Part 1)

February 2007

Biblical Theology

November–December 2006

The Church’s Mission

October 2006

The Emerging Church

September 2006

Miscellaneous Articles

December 1999