9Marks: an emphasis on church leadership

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted the ninth year of the 9Marks conference on Sept. 29-30 of which 747 pastors, ministry leaders and students attended and more than 900 viewed the conference via live stream.

The conference centered on the topic of church leadership and attendees heard from speakers Mark Dever, Jeramie Rinne, Danny Akin, Thabiti Anyabwile, Burk Parsons and H.B. Charles.

Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., spoke on the process of pastoral transition within a church. Some of Dever’s main points included considering the next pastor with prayerfulness, the importance of relying on the leadership of church elders and being open to pastors with varying educational backgrounds.

“There is a self-givingness in good authority that the Christian epitomizes in the pastor of their local church,” said Dever.

Rinne, senior pastor of Evangelical Community Church in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, articulated the importance of humility in church leadership and the dangers of pride that come from success. Drawing from the rise and fall of King Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26, Rinne noted that success ultimately comes from the Lord, which should enable pastors to be humble in ministry.

“That means that for us as pastors that one of the most important character qualities for leadership is that we be humble men, humble men who are dependent upon God,” said Rinne.

Akin, president of Southeastern, spoke Friday afternoon on the marks of trustworthy leadership from Psalm 101.

“A cynical, skeptical world is watching us and watching us very carefully,” said Akin. Let them see men of integrity. Let them see wise and trustworthy leaders. Let them see men who faithfully follow in the footsteps of the master.”

Anyabwile, pastor at Anacostia River Church in Washington, D.C., spoke Friday night on Colossians 4 and how “spreading the gospel is a multi-ethnic team sport.” He outlined in his message what he called the “five D’s of gospel ministry,” which included dedication, disappointments, devotion, diversity and direction.

“You will know a healthy partnership when you see one. It will be focused on the task of spreading the gospel with all the warmth of true friendship,” said Anyabwile.

Parsons, co-pastor at St. Andrews Chapel in Sanford, Florida, began the morning session with his message on 1 Peter 5 and how a pastor leads by example.

“If you’re not being a shepherd, you’re not being faithful to what God has called you to be,” said Parsons.

In giving the example of Jesus, Parsons said, “Jesus didn’t just come and die for us, but he came and lived for us.”

Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, closed out the Saturday morning session speaking on Ephesians 4:11-16 and how a church grows and matures in the faith.

“You cannot have a high view of Christ and a low view of the church at the same time,” said Charles.  

Throughout the conference, speakers participated in panel discussions moderated by Jonathan Leeman, editor of 9Marks.

Southeastern will host next year’s 9Marks conference Sept. 28-29, 2018 and will be focused on missions.

For more information about 9Marks, visit 9marks.org

To view photos from the conference, click here and to view the messages from all the speakers, click here.

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