9Marks Mailbag

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?

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 Church

By 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?

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 Situation

By 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 Name

By 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 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?