Monthly Archives: January 2013

New 9 Marks E-Journal: Lay Elders, Part 2

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January/February 2013, Volume 10, Issue 1

Editor’s Note

Dashed LineWe return again to the topic of lay elders in this issue of the Journal. (Check out the last one here.) This time we take up the matter of elder relationships themselves. A lot of guys become elders and are surprised to find the relationships with the other brothers require care, even forgiveness.

“What? I thought they were all supposed to be godly?”

Well, hopefully, they are. But still…

You don’t become a “band of brothers” just by showing up. You need to face battle together, as well as work through all the disagreements and sins that arise along the way. My friend Matt Schmucker often observes that more apologizing happens during our elder meeting bathroom breaks than at any other time he knows. It is a consecrated commode.

An elder’s first priority is the sheep, but shepherds who don’t know how to love one another compromise their ability to serve the sheep.

To get us started, Bob Johnson explains how he, as the senior pastor, tries to build unity and love among the elders. Michael Lawrence, Greg Gilbert, and Walter Price all address the tricky issue of the lay elder/staff elder dynamic.

Then Eric Bancroft, Matt Schmucker, Nick Roark, and I turn to the elder meeting itself. How can we build unity and peace amidst the challenging dynamics of group decision-making? Finally, Jimmy Scroggins and Steve Wright take us in a slightly different direction by considering the possibility of bi-vocational elders planting churches.

— Jonathan Leeman





Building Unity and Friendship Among Elders

How elders relate to each other will impact how they relate to the flock, for good or ill. Here are a few ideas for helping elders build deep friendships and sturdy unity.

By Bob Johnson

When to Intude, When to Defer

When and how should lay elders push back on decisions of staff elders? Consider first what “hat” the staff elder is wearing.

By Michael Lawrence

The Curse of the Rubber Stamp

How can elder boards avoid the vicious cycle of lay elders feeling pressured to rubber stamp staff elders’ decisions, then resenting them, then opposing them?

By Greg Gilbert

Balancing Relationships Between Staff and Non-staff Elders

Balanced counsel on the balance between elders from a seasoned senior pastor.

By Walter Price

From the Archives: Disagreements and Differences Among Elders

An Interview with Matt Schmucker

Elder Meeting Attitudes

Fear of man can lead elders to say too little or too much. Here are nine tips for setting your heart right and speaking well to your fellow elders.

By Jonathan Leeman

Family Size: Lessons for Large and Small Elder Boards

Like families, elder board dynamics vary with size. Here is some counsel for larger and smaller elder boards from a pastor who has served on both.

By Eric Bancroft

The Contents and Purposes of the “Elder Packet”

If lay elders aren’t informed of issues before the elders meet, they can feel neglected, pressured, and out-of-the-loop. A little bit of prep work before hand can go a long way.

By Matt Schmucker and Nick Roark

The Math Doesn’t Work: Why the Future of Church Planting is Bi-Vocational

Countless church plants fail for lack of funds. So instead of throwing a Hail Mary, why not explore a new model instead?

By Jimmy Scroggins and Steve Wright



Dashed LineThe Four P’s of a Faithful Pastorate

In this installation sermon, Mark Dever urges the new pastor to preach, pray, personally disciple, and be patient.

Posted on December 1, 2012

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Panel at the Jacksonville Pastors’ Conference

First Baptist Church

Jacksonville, FL
January 25, 2013

Jonathan Leeman, Garrett Conner, Al Jackson, David King


Desiring God Pastors’ Conference

Minneapolis Convention Center

Minneapolis, MN

Februrary 4, 2013

Mark Dever


9Marks Preaching Conference in Hawaii

Wai’alae Baptist Church

Honolulu, HI

Februrary 8-9, 2013

Mark Dever,Michael Lawrence, and Jonathan Leeman


9Marks at Southern

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Louisville, KY
March 1-2, 2013

Mike Bullmore, K. Edward Copeland, Mark Dever, David Helm, R. Albert Mohler, Russell Moore


9Marks Weekender

Capitol Hill Baptist Church

Washington, DC

March 14-18, 2013

May 16-20, 2013

September 12-16, 2013

Mark Dever, Ryan Townsend, and Jonathan Leeman


The Gospel Coalition National Conference

Orlando, FL

April 8-10, 2013

Jonathan Leeman and Mike McKinley with Tim Keller, John Piper, Matt Chandler, and more



Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, South Africa

April 15-20, 2013

Mark Dever, Kevin DeYoung, Ligon Duncan, and C.J. Mahaney


9Marks at 9 at the SBC

Houston, TX

June 10-11, 2013

Mark Dever, Danny Akin, R. Albert Mohler, and others


Book Reviews

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Deep & Wide, by Andy Stanley

Reviewed by Zach Schlegel

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Baptist Distinctives and New Testament Church Order, by Kevin Bauder

Reviewed by Kevin Wilkening