9Marks Mailbag

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 Bankruptcy

By 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 Calvinism

By 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 Voting

By 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?

Mailbag #19: Baptismal Regeneration; What Makes a Legitimate Baptism; Relationship Between Baptism and Membership; Relating to a Registered Sex Offender

By Jonathan Leeman | 11.06.2015

— What do you know about the Restoration Movement and their teaching on baptism? — When affirming someone’s baptism, what legitimizing factors do you look for in the baptizing church? — Is it wise to baptize someone without bringing them into church membership? — A registered sex offender wants to join our church. How should we respond?

Mailbag #18: Dealing with Anxiety; Lord’s Supper Question; Christians & Multi-Level Marketing; When A Church Member Moves Away

By Jonathan Leeman | 10.30.2015

—How do I battle anxiety in my life? —Is it permissible to take the Lord’s Supper in small groups? Wednesday night Bible study? —Should Christians be involved in multi-level marketing organizations? —When a church member moves away, should they automatically be taken off the membership roll?

Mailbag #17: Renting Out Church Facilities; Too Busy to Elder; Transitioning to Closed Communion; Problems with Secret Societies

By Jonathan Leeman | 10.14.2015

—How should we think through renting out our church facilities? —Is there ever a time when a man is too busy to be an elder? —Should ministry roles be restricted to members only? —As Christians, what should we think of secret societies like the Freemasons?

Mailbag #16: Dual Membership; Does Marriage Require State Involvement; How Much Agreement Among Elders

By Jonathan Leeman | 10.05.2015

—What should I think about “dual membership”? —If marriage is created by God, does it require state involvement? —Must elders agree on every doctrinal matter? How much agreement is necessary?

Mailbag #15: Officiating Non-Christian Weddings; Meaningful Membership before Establishing Elders; Excommunicate for Not Giving Money; Transfer Membership

By Jonathan Leeman | 09.09.2015

—Are pastors free to officiate a non-Christian wedding? —What should come first: meaningful membership or a plurality of elders? —Shouldn’t a refusal to give to your church result in excommunication? —Should a church accept transfer memberships from other churches at face value?

Mailbag #14: Discipling without “Picking Favorites”; Tricky Baptism Situation; Churches and Name Changes; Numerical Growth v. Spiritual Growth

By Jonathan Leeman | 08.31.2015

—How do I encourage people to not “play favorites” with their discipling relationships? —How do I think through this tricky baptism situation? —Must churches have the word “church” in their names? —Is very little numerical growth okay if spiritual growth is taking place?

Mailbag #13: Baptism before Communion; Moderating Members’ Meetings; Cooperating with Other Churches in Church Discipline; How to Transition to Elders and Deacons

By Jonathan Leeman | 08.24.2015

—Is the Lord’s Supper only for those who have been baptized? —Who should moderate members’ meetings? —What do you do when someone wants to join your church, but they’ve been disciplined by another church? —How does a church transition to elders and deacons?

Mailbag #12: Training Bible Teachers; Attending a Wedding Between Professing Christian and a Muslim; Thoughts on “Re-Baptisms”; My Pastor Never Reads his Sermon Text

By Jonathan Leeman | 08.17.2015

—How can our church train Bible teachers? —My friend says she’s a Christian, yet is marrying a Muslim. Should I attend the wedding? —What do you think about “re-baptisms”? —My pastor never reads his sermon text. Is that problematic?

Mailbag #11—Why “Disowning” Family Members Isn’t an Option; Term Limits for Elders; Expedited Church Discipline; Can I Leave My Family’s Church?

By Jonathan Leeman | 08.07.2015

—How should I treat my unrepentant father-in-law? —Should elders have term limits? —Is there ever a case where church discipline should be done immediately? —Can I leave the church I grew up in?

Mailbag #10—Lord’s Supper in Nursing Home; Christians Dating a Non-Christian; Role of Small Group Leaders; New Pastor in Need of Help

By Jonathan Leeman | 07.31.2015

Lord’s Supper in Nursing Home » Christians Dating a Non-Christian » Role of Small Group Leaders » New Pastor in Need of Help » Mike, We get some version of this question often. I assume you are asking about members of your church who are unable to attend? This is a topic on which your […]

Mailbag #9—Lord’s Supper in Small Groups; Elder Disqualified by Unbelieving Wife; Immersion Necessary for Baptism?

By Jonathan Leeman | 06.12.2015

—Is it legitimate to take the Lord’s Supper apart from a local congregation? —Can a man with an unbelieving wife serve as an elder? —Is immersion necessary for baptism?