9Marks E-Journal: Counsel for Young Pastors


9Marks has posted there March/April 2009 e-journal also available in a pdf formt.  This edition is centered on practical advice for the young pastor.  Below is the Editor’s Note and the table of contents.

Editors Note:

“Clear vision but little depth perception.” That’s how I’ve heard Mark Dever characterize young pastors.

Young pastors see their doctrine with utter clarity. They know exactly what a church should look like. But they don’t know how to assess what’s important, what’s really important, and what can be overlooked. Their gauges haven’t developed.

Probably, the best solution for this is plain old experience. Yet a little battle wisdom from older men can’t hurt, either. So we turned to several pastors who have walked a few miles down ministry’s road, asking them to pass on a morsel or two of counsel.

Bob Johnson and Ken Swetland talk about getting started. Matt Schmucker, Mark Dever, and Phillip Jensen offer their thoughts on making changes. Philip Ryken and Robert Norris help us persevere to the end. And a couple of younger guys, like Aaron, Greg, and me, throw in our two cents.

One word of caution about an eJournal full of practical advice: Wisdom can be found in principles of the sort you’ll find here. But wisdom always begins with a posture of heart—a heart the trusts and fears the Lord. Only this heart finds the wisdom to know which principles apply when: “Is now the time not to answer the fool according to his folly (Prov. 26:4)? Or is now the time to answer him according to his folly (Prov. 26:5)?”

Only the Lord will make your paths straight.

That means that we cannot tell you exactly how to pastor your church, unless the matter is plainly Scriptural. You’re God’s man for that job. So take what’s offered here. Consider how it might apply in your context. But above all else, guard your heart, that it would fear only him.

We’re praying for your pastoral work, reader. Pray, too, for us.

Table of Contents:


A Pastor’s Priorities For Day One
So you’re a brand new pastor. What do you do when you show up at the office on Monday?
By Bob Johnson

The Goals and Benefits of an Installation Service
More than a formality, an installation service gives you a chance to set the tone for your pastorate and begin the work of shepherding.
By Aaron Menikoff


8 Steps for Dealing with Difficult Leaders
What do you do when influential members of your church are—shall we say—less than helpful?
By Ken Swetland

Dealing with Bad Documents
You’re the pastor now, but the church constitution is clunky and the statement of faith is almost heretical. What do you do?
By Greg Gilbert


Is This a Hill Worth Dying On?
Some pastors make every dispute a hill to die on; others wouldn’t fight to save their grandmother’s life. Schmucker offers some guidance.
By Matt Schmucker

What I CAN and CANNOT Live With as a Pastor
What issues are worth fighting—or leaving—over? Are there any criteria?
By Mark Dever

Love the Church More than its Health
Pastors need to love the people in their church more than their dream of a healthy church.
By Jonathan Leeman

Should Pastors Change Anything in the First Year?
An old maxim says, “If you don’t change something in the first year you never will; and whatever you change in the first year will be a mistake.” Is that right?
By Phillip Jensen

One from the Vault: Mark Dever’s classic article from 2000, How to Change Your Church


WWJD—What Would Jim Do?
James Montgomery Boice’s successor shares a few lessons he learned from watching a master.
By Philip Graham Ryken

Shepherding and Trust
A church doesn’t learn to trust its pastors overnight; he better be in it for the long haul.
By Robert Norris

A Pastor For Now
Why Mark loves the pastorate, but will be happy to proceed to what’s next.
By Mark Dever


Book Review: Evangelism: Doing Justice and Preaching Grace, by Harvie M. Conn
Reviewed by Greg Gilbert

Book Review: Jesus the Evangelist, by Richard D. Phillips
Reviewed by Byron Straughn

Book Review: The Heart of Evangelism, by Jerram Barrs
Reviewed by Geoff Chang

Book Review: Vibrant Church, by Thom S. Rainer & Daniel L. Akin
Reviewed by Jonathan Leeman

Book Review: Simple Church, by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger
Reviewed by Graham Shearer


On Books with D.A. Carson
Posted on February 25th, 2008
Mark Dever asks D.A. Carson for a tour of how he writes and what he’s written.

Christian Discipleship and Growth with Donald Whitney
Posted on January 25th, 2008
Don Whitney discusses busyness, praying through Scripture, the disciplines, mysticism, and more.


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