— You’ve mentioned before the value of elders reading books together. What’s the best way to go about that? — Do you have any advice for a husband and wife who can’t agree on which church to go to?
Mailbag #47: Applying Paul’s “Able to Teach” Qualification; Confidentiality between Pastors and Members?By Jonathan Leeman | 01.06.2017
— How gifted does someone have to be in order to be considered “able to teach”? — Can church members appeal to a kind of “pastor-member confidentiality”?
Mailbag #46: Tricky Membership Question about Immigration; Pastoring a Church with Lots of DivorceesBy Jonathan Leeman | 12.23.2016
— A woman who came to the United States under false pretenses wants to join our church. What should we do? — How should a pastor proceed when he inherits a church with several divorcees?
— When talking to transgender friends or family members, which pronoun should I use? — How would you handle the pre-marital counseling of an egalitarian couple?
Mailbag #44: Applying “Husband of One Wife”; Leaving the Church but Attending Bible Study; Women Voting in the ChurchBy Jonathan Leeman | 12.09.2016
— What does “husband of one wife” mean? That a prospective elder must have never been divorced? — Someone who left our church still wants to attend our church’s ladies’ Bible study. Is that okay? — Does 1 Timothy 2:12 forbid women from voting in congregational matters?
— How does your church care for an excommunicated member when they show up at church? — Can a person who wants to be a member of the church but is functionally at the level of a child be baptized?
—Why do churches discipline for sins like homosexuality and adultery but not other sins like gluttony or vanity or greed? —Would you do pre-marital counseling for two unbelievers? If so, what would you cover?
Mailbag #41: When the Church Votes “No” on a Clear Discipline Case; The Biblical Case of “Lay Elders”By Jonathan Leeman | 11.11.2016
—What if the congregation votes “no” in a clear case of discipline? —Are “lay elders” a biblical category?
Mailbag #40: Too High a Standard for Church Membership; Where Are Churches Commanded to Gather WeeklyBy Jonathan Leeman | 11.04.2016
—You say the standard for church membership is nothing more than simply “being a Christian.” But that’s not entirely true, is it? —Where in Scripture are local churches commanded to gather every week?
Mailbag #39: Turning Elder Training into a Program; Divorced, Repentant, but Not Seeking Reconciliation?By Jonathan Leeman | 10.28.2016
—Is it wise to turn elder training into a program? —Can a divorced member of the church be repentant without seeking reconciliation with their spouse?
Mailbag #38: How to Shepherd Every Member; Shepherding by the “Parish Model”; What’s the “Church” in Matthew 18?By Jonathan Leeman | 05.20.2016
— How can the elders of a large church ensure every member is both known and cared for? — We’d like to divide our church members by families and individuals and then designate them to a particular elder. What do you think of this approach? — In Matthew 18, what does Jesus mean when he says “tell it to the church”?
Mailbag #37: Congregationalism in China; A Defense of Building Bigger Buildings; Notifying the Recently Disciplined; Supporting a Widow Who Has Left the ChurchBy Jonathan Leeman | 05.10.2016
— How can something like congregationalism work in China, with its networks of related house churches? — The leaders at my church want to build a bigger building, yet it seems to me a waste of money. What should I do? — After someone has been disciplined for non-attendance, should the church notify the person as a final act of congregational care? — Twenty years ago, our church made a commitment to financially support our former pastor’s widow. She has since refused to attend our church. What should I do?
Mailbag #36: When Nominating Elders May Cause Disunity; Your 9 Marks Aren’t Enough; A Difficult Pastoral SituationBy 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?
— 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 MistakesBy 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?