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