Training Leaders

How can I decide whether or not I should be a pastor?


Traditionally, Christians have referred to two kinds of “call” a man must experience before entering the pastorate: an internal call and an external call. While the word “call” is potentially misleading, the basic idea is right. Before becoming a pastor, a person should both desire to do the work and receive confirmation from a church. Part of doing both involves considering the biblical qualifications of an elder.

Does a pastor have to be “called” by God?


On the one hand, there seems to be no biblical indication that the New Testament office of elder or pastor requires a special “calling.”

How can I do seminary well?

Join a church. Remember that the local church, not seminary, is God’s primary means for proclaiming the gospel, building up the saints, and preparing you for ministry (Eph. 4:11-16). Use your time at seminary as an opportunity to grow in your ministry and involvement in the local church, not to put the local church on the back burner.

What are some practical ways a pastor can train younger men for ministry?

Share your pulpit (carefully). Look for ways to give doctrinally and pastorally reliable younger men in your congregation opportunities to preach and teach—even if they are not practiced public speakers.

Why should pastors personally disciple men who are potential church leaders?

Scripture commands it. In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul writes, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Since 1 Timothy was written not merely for Timothy, but for us all (Rom. 15:4, 2 Tim. 3:16-17), every pastor of a local church should train other men to be teachers in the church.

What are warning flags to watch out for when considering a man as a potential elder?


In general, a church should not affirm any man as an elder who does not meet the biblical qualifications laid out in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Here are several warning flags which a church should heed:

Apart from the explicit biblical qualifications, are there other important matters to keep in mind when considering a potential elder?


A man may appear to meet the biblical qualifications yet still be an unwise selection as an elder for a number of reasons:

A Pastors’ and Theologians’ Forum on Selecting Elders

By B. Keisling, E. Roberts, F. Catherwood, J. MacArthur, M. Lawrence, P. Newton, T. R. Schreiner | 9Marks Journal: Elders (Part 1) | 03.01.2010

A Pastors’ and Theologians’ Forum:

What lessons have you learned the hard way in selecting elders?

Answers from

An Elders’ Forum

By Forum | 9Marks Journal: Elders (Part 2) | 03.01.2010

Thinking back to when you first became an elder, what initial lesson(s) most stand out in equipping you to elder well?

Questions for Pastoral Candidates

By Paul Alexander | 9Marks Journal: Pastoral Moves | 03.01.2010

What are some questions specific to pastoral fidelity that churches should be asking pastoral candidates? Here’s a starter set. Can you think of more?

A Seminary President’s Forum

By Forum | 9Marks Journal: Raising Up the Next Generation of Pastors | 03.01.2010

Why is your seminary needed?

A Pastor’s Forum

By Forum | 9Marks Journal: Raising Up the Next Generation of Pastors | 03.01.2010

Do local churches have the responsibility to help raise up the next generation of pastors, and if so, why?

Befriending Timothy

By Owen Strachan | 9Marks Journal: Hospitality & Friendship | 03.01.2010

When a pastor befriends a young man, the kingdom advances.

The Power of Example

By Mark Dever | 03.01.2010

Does God’s mercy ever obscure His holiness in His word? What about in His church?

Leadership Interview with Mark Dever

Life and Word-Centered Ministry (with William Taylor)

By M. Dever, W. Taylor | 03.01.2010

William Taylor, rector of St. Helen’s in London, discusses good preaching, bad theology, training pastors and more.