9Marks Mailbag

Mailbag #43: Relationship to Excommunicated Members; Baptism & the Developmentally Disabled

By Jonathan Leeman | 12.02.2016

— How does your church care for an excommunicated member when they show up at church? — Can a person who wants to be a member of the church but is functionally at the level of a child be baptized?

Mailbag #42: Hypocritical Church Discipline; Pre-Marital Counseling for Two Unbelievers?

By Jonathan Leeman | 11.18.2016

—Why do churches discipline for sins like homosexuality and adultery but not other sins like gluttony or vanity or greed? —Would you do pre-marital counseling for two unbelievers? If so, what would you cover?

Mailbag #41: When the Church Votes “No” on a Clear Discipline Case; The Biblical Case of “Lay Elders”

By Jonathan Leeman | 11.11.2016

—What if the congregation votes “no” in a clear case of discipline? —Are “lay elders” a biblical category?

Mailbag #40: Too High a Standard for Church Membership; Where Are Churches Commanded to Gather Weekly

By Jonathan Leeman | 11.04.2016

—You say the standard for church membership is nothing more than simply “being a Christian.” But that’s not entirely true, is it? —Where in Scripture are local churches commanded to gather every week?

Mailbag #39: Turning Elder Training into a Program; Divorced, Repentant, but Not Seeking Reconciliation?

By Jonathan Leeman | 10.28.2016

—Is it wise to turn elder training into a program? —Can a divorced member of the church be repentant without seeking reconciliation with their spouse?

Mailbag #38: How to Shepherd Every Member; Shepherding by the “Parish Model”; What’s the “Church” in Matthew 18?

By Jonathan Leeman | 05.20.2016

— How can the elders of a large church ensure every member is both known and cared for? — We’d like to divide our church members by families and individuals and then designate them to a particular elder. What do you think of this approach? — In Matthew 18, what does Jesus mean when he says “tell it to the church”?

Mailbag #37: Congregationalism in China; A Defense of Building Bigger Buildings; Notifying the Recently Disciplined; Supporting a Widow Who Has Left the Church

By Jonathan Leeman | 05.10.2016

— How can something like congregationalism work in China, with its networks of related house churches? — The leaders at my church want to build a bigger building, yet it seems to me a waste of money. What should I do? — After someone has been disciplined for non-attendance, should the church notify the person as a final act of congregational care? — Twenty years ago, our church made a commitment to financially support our former pastor’s widow. She has since refused to attend our church. What should I do?

Mailbag #36: When Nominating Elders May Cause Disunity; Your 9 Marks Aren’t Enough; A Difficult Pastoral Situation

By Jonathan Leeman | 05.02.2016

— Should I move forward with installing a plurality of elders, even if the decision causes disunity in the church? — I agree with your nine marks—but seriously, where are the marks of love and prayer and missions? — The grandmother of an unwed and pregnant teenager wants to have her granddaughter’s baby shower at the church. How should I think through this?

Mailbag #35: Excommunicating a Non-Christian; Elders for Church Plants; Membership Interview

By Jonathan Leeman | 04.22.2016

— A church member denies the faith; is the proper response excommunication? — In a church plant, how long you should wait to install the first elders? — What questions should you ask during a membership interview? And what should you do if something like a past divorce comes up?

Mailbag #34: How to Respond When a Pastor’s Wife Leaves; Pastoring Regular Attenders Who Refuse to Join; Help with Cleaning Up Our Church’s Past Mistakes

By Jonathan Leeman | 03.25.2016

—When a pastor’s wife leaves him, can he continue in that position? —How do you pastor a couple who enjoys regularly attending, but refuses to join? —How can I minister to a member of our church, who was hurt by our church 10 years ago and hasn’t been back?

Mailbag #33: Job Conflicts with Church; Requiring More than One Gathering; Process for Members Who Leave on Good Terms

By Jonathan Leeman | 03.10.2016

What should we do when a job conflicts with church attendance? » Is a church over-reaching when it requires more than one gathering for membership? » What’s the process for when members move and leave on good terms? »

Mailbag #32: Politics and the Church; What to Do When Elders Disagree on Principle; What Book Should a New Pastor Preach?

By Jonathan Leeman | 03.03.2016

—Is there a place for politics in the church? —What do you do when elders disagree, not on a matter of preference but biblical principle? —What books of the Bible should a new pastor preach?

Mailbag #31: Healthy Membership before Healthy Eldership; Difficult Shepherding Situation; Ordination; Tithing

By 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 Ones

By 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?

Mailbag #29: On “Thin” and “Thick” Statements of Faith; Relationship between Lord’s Supper and Membership; Small Group Leaders Who Aren’t Church Members

By 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?