Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) hosted the ninth year of its 9Marks conference, Sept. 29-30, attended by 747 pastors, ministry leaders and students and viewed by more than 900 live online via Facebook.
Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, addresses conference attendees at the 9Marks conference Sept. 29-30.
Focusing on the topic of church leadership, featured speakers were Mark Dever, Jeramie Rinne, Danny Akin, Thabiti Anyabwile, Burk Parsons and H.B. Charles Jr.
Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and president of the 9Marks church ministry, spoke on the process of pastoral transition within a church, such as the need for prayerfulness in considering the next pastor; the importance of relying on the leadership of church elders; and being open to pastors with varying educational backgrounds.
Dever noted that Christians should desire that their pastor exemplify “a self-givingness” in the “good authority” he exercises in the local church.
Rinne, senior pastor of Evangelical Community Church in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, spoke on 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,” Rinne said.
Akin, president of SEBTS, spoke Friday afternoon on the marks of trustworthy leadership from Psalm 101.
“A cynical, skeptical world is watching us and watching us very carefully,” Akin said. “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 of 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 what he called the “four D’s of gospel ministry” – dedication, devotion, diversity and direction.
“You will know a healthy partnership [within a church] when you see one,” Anyabwile said. “It will be focused on the task of spreading the gospel with all the warmth of true friendship.”
Parsons, co-pastor of St. Andrews Chapel in Sanford, Fla., began the Saturday morning session with a message on how a pastor leads by example from 1 Peter 5.
“If you’re not being a shepherd, you’re not being faithful to what God has called you to be,” Parsons said.
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, Fla., 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, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference.
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, focusing on missions. For more information about 9Marks, visit 9marks.org.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston with reporting by Lauren Pratt of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.)