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Church membership is not just a status, it’s an office. Leaders shouldn’t fire members from the responsibilities given to them by Jesus—they should train them! When members are trained, the church grows in holiness and love, discipleship and mission. Complacency and nominalism are diminished.
Jesus gives every church member an office in the church’s government: to assume final responsibility for guarding the what and the who of the gospel in the church and its ministry. Similarly, Jesus gives leaders to the church for equipping the members to do this church-building and mission-accomplishing work.
In our day, the tasks of reinvigorating congregational authority and elder authority must work together. The vision of congregationalism pictured in this book offers an integrated view of the Christian life. Congregationalism is biblical, but biblical congregationalism just might look a little different than you expect. It is nothing less than Jesus’ authorization for living out his kingdom rule among a people on mission.
Jonathan Leeman is editorial director at 9Marks, occasional lecturer at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Table of Contents
Preface: The Importance of Polity Introduction
1) Who’s in Charge of What Around Here? 2) A Covenantal Job Assignment 3) The Keys to Office 4) How Jesus Gives a Job to the Whole Church 5) How the Holy Spirit Establishes Elders to Lead in the Work 6) Working with Other Congregations 7) Getting to Work
Appendix 1: Quick Answer to Criticisms of Congregationalism Appendix 2: Standard Members’ Meeting Agenda