Author Archive

Bring the babies!

August 29, 2008

I have been recently provoked to think about pre-elders in missions. What exactly is our role? Should we go? Should we bring our families? Should we finish school first? Do we even need training? I am going to spend the next few posts over the next few days talking about some of these issues. God has brought a few different things in my path lately that has caused me to think about missions.

Side note: explaining how God “calls” and “leads” people to do things, and the way He communicates His will is not something easily explained. But I can describe one way in which God communicates certain ideas and thoughts to me: Over the past week about 10 different references to missions has crossed my path.  This afternoon I had a meeting with my pastor in which he shared with me all about his trip to Texas to meet with David Sitton, at To Every Tribe Missions. They were discussing their upcoming mission’s conference with John Piper, and discussing our upcoming conference as well. So there I was, culminating my week long discussion of missions talking about the pre-elders role in missions. Maybe this is just the beginning of something God is starting in my heart.

The 9Marks September/October 2008 eJournal came out a few days ago and there is a very thought provoking article about bringing our children on the mission field. The author highlights an aspect of missions that I hold very dear to my heart. Namely this: what are we to do when we go to the mission field? We do the same thing that we are to do at home. We live life. Dr. Jay Adams says that the household is the smallest sub-group of the church in existence. I totally agree. The New Testament calls us ambassadors and that therefore makes our homes embassies. An embassy is a place where people can come and see (taste and see) that our “country” is good. An embassy represents the Kingdom well. Further, God has ordained marriage so that it will magnify the blood bought relationship between Christ and His church. Paul says in Ephesians that marriage is about Christ and the church, meaning, it has a greater purpose than the purpose we see day in and day out.

John Piper has said that marriage is for making children…disciples of Jesus. He says this because marriage is the closest place on earth to see the relationship between Christ and His church. So when we take our wives and children on the field, we are bringing a church–an embassy of the Kingdom of God–and a living, breathing, loving example of how Christ interacts with His church.

Check out the 9Marks article and come tell us what you think: Should missionaries take their families with them?

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Waiting is providence

August 11, 2008

Mark Driscoll recently had a discussion with Dr. J.I. Packer about young Christian leaders. Dr. Packer told Mark that young leaders should focus on four main areas:

1. Regeneration

2. God-Centered Theology

3. Godliness Begins at Home

4. Trinity.

I want to focus on point 3, that godliness begins at home, because it seems to get missed the most. Theological competence is too often seen as more important than home life. Whereas the New Testament puts the two on par with each other, theological competence is right there with a godly home life. Christian character starts in the home through relationships with those in a householders direct influence and control.

The household is a proven or training ground for church leadership. The household is like a greenhouse or an incubator for the church leader. He grows and becomes strong in godliness (sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money) before being transplanted into the realm of church leadership, where his character will be tested and constantly on display. The greenhouse is more forgiving than the garden that is exposed to the elements and predators, so it is with the leader in the home moving into a leader in the church.

These qualifications aren’t just to verify the ability to lead. They are not “just ‘cause” qualifications. They are God’s protection for the man. If the man doesn’t have the qualities of an elder he’ll be chewed up and spit out by the demands, responsibilities, and duties of the job. Further, it could be devastating for his wife, his children, or members of the local church body. I have heard Gregg Harris say that obedience is its own reward. Obeying God is keeping the hedge of protection around yourself and around those under your influence. Waiting to step into church leadership is trusting in God’s protection.

So I commend Dr. Packer for including the importance of home life for the young leader. Men, your families are your most important ministry. Loving and leading your family prepares you rightly for church leadership.

To see the interview with Dr. Packer, click here

How do we find our pastors?

June 24, 2008

In the past few days, the guys over at the 9Marks blog have been discussing how to go about finding a pastor. I commented on one of their posts part of which can be seen here:

 “Authority should only be vested in men in whom the congregation and the other leaders recognize the biblical qualifications for church office, 1 Tim. 3:1-15…A year ago at a SBC pastor’s conference in Texas, Voddie Baucham dropped the hammer on the attending pastors about the way that they had been selected for the office of Elder. He says that for most pastors in the SBC they were never scrutinized in light on the biblical text but rather the guy preached one time and the congregation voted on him. How can you assess whether a man is in good standing within the community through an application? Or through an internet posting? Also, the Bible requires that a pastor have 2 skills, many character qualifications, but only 2 skills. He must be able to teach and he must manage his household well. How can you tell whether a man manages his household well through an application or an interview or even 5 interviews? It seems that the current system of hiring pastors from far away, rather than rising up leaders amongst us, is problematic. Instead of following the text, we are filling slots with men that interview well, have letters like “M.Div” after their name, and can preach a sermon well.”

So young men, those of us that aspire to the office of Elder, how can we throw our hat into the ring of available pastors to be hired? As we look at our lives and we see that our lives are not at the place that Paul is prescribing in the Pastoral Epistles, than we are being deceptive by even applying for the position.

Here is the dilemma, the church today in America is lacking men older ready to step into Eldership, usually because they lack theological competence. They are theologically incompetent for a multitude of reasons, some are honorable, e.g. they entered the work force to take care of their families rather than going to Bible College or Seminary. But they have proven character qualifications, they manage their households well, they aren’t given to much wine etc. So, the church turns to us young bucks who have graduated Bible College or Seminary and have some theological competence. But, just as the older man that has proven character qualifications lacks theological competence, we young guns lack proven character qualifications. How can we show proven fruit in our lives when the tree is barely popping out of the ground?

Trust me fellow aspirers, I am passionate about pastoral ministry, but I exhort you to embrace the season of life that God as you in. Elders are to lead the flock, not Youngsters. Support the men around you that may lack theological competence but are proven men of God. Be sure not to rebuke an older man, but spur them on to love and good works. Push them to “Do Hard Things” and to gain the training they need to lead God’s church.

We aren’t going to move past the current state of inadequate church leadership if we don’t stop the merry-go-round. We must embrace the ministry God has for younger men and not through our hat into the pastoral search race.

 

 

 

 

Discussion Board

May 9, 2008

We have started a discussion board at:

www.bibleschooldiscussion.com

This is a forum devoted to providing prospective and current students with information about the current state of Bible Colleges, Seminaries, and alternative options, and holding such institutions accountable for the doctrines, ethics and practices they promote.