3 Questions with Ligon Duncan

Communications Staff — August 31, 2009

Ligon Duncan serves as senior minister of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Miss.

1. What should a man have in mind as he beings his first pastorate?

Ligon Duncan: First, he needs to be committed to preach God’s Word and then, second, he needs to develop a deep love for His people. (He should pray) for God to really grant him a deep love in his heart for his people, so that when he does have to confront his people with their sins, they know that he does it with a heart of total love and commitment with, and for, them.

Third, I’d say be committed to be a man of prayer for them. So, preach the Word, love his people and be committed to prayer and especially cultivate prayer in the life of the church. Fourth, he should invest himself in his elders or his leaders. Cultivate them so they can come alongside him and do ministry.

Fifth, he should promote family religion in the homes, and then, sixth, he should be committed to living a godly life himself. So I’d say those six things ought to be a standard commitment of every young man going into his first pastorate.

2. How can a young minister have a good accountability structure?

LD: If he’s married, then it starts with his wife, because if you can lie to wife, then you can lie to your accountability partner. So, it starts with having the kind of proper relationship of accountability with your wife.

Second, accountability to your church leadership so that they know that you really do submit to their authority and that you are accountable to them in appropriate ways. And then, I do think that it’s important for ministers to cultivate special pastoral relationships, preferably with guys that are close to them in proximity, where they can talk about the deep heart issues that they are struggling with, their ministry issues they are struggling with and their temptation issues they are wrestling with.

I think you need webs of accountability because very often, certain sins can slip through one track of accountability and get caught by others, and we need that. We need to hem ourselves in so that we get caught quickly and easily, so I believe in a multi-faceted web of accountability.

3. What is a recent occurrence that made you laugh?

LD: Well, my son — Jennings, who is 9 — is very funny. And he says very, very funny things. Jennings recently just had his finger cut off in an accident on a zip line. We were in the hospital having the orthopedic surgeon look at his finger, and her name was Cynthia Pullion. She walked into the room and said, “I’m Cynthia Pullion” and he looked up at her and he said, “They sent you to pull what!?” I laughed pretty hard when he said that.

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