3 Questions with Mark Dever on the SBC and pastoral ministry

Communications Staff — July 1, 2009

We had the chance to catch up with Mark Dever at the Southern Baptist Convention. Dever is the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and president of 9Marks, a ministry centered on equipping churches to display the glory of God. Dever also serves as the chairman of the board of directors at Southern Seminary.

What two or three things should a new pastor and/or church planter be focusing on?

Mark Dever: There will be some differences, but basically, they both need to focus on understanding the Word and teaching the Word well. So, certainly praying for themselves: Paul instructs Timothy to watch his life and his doctrine closely. So, make sure of his own relationship with the Lord. Know the Gospel clearly. And then give himself to preaching excellent sermons, not excellent by the world’s standards, but excellent according to his gifts, what he can do, and try to build the church on the Word.

What are two or three things that need to change in the Southern Baptist Convention in the next 10-15 years?

Dever: You use the word need: nothing needs to change in order for us to continue working happily with the Southern Baptist Convention. What are some improvements that could me made? I appreciate the emphasis I have heard in the Pastors’ Conference this year on playing nicely together: that is good.

I would also like to see the state conventions being more transparent about how much of the money that is given to them they keep and how much goes to the national convention. I would think that we would want our members in our churches to know where their Cooperative Program dollars are going. And if most people those are mission dollars, I would like for them to understand, “well it depends on how you define missions.” If you are thinking international missions, only 50 cents of that — that is only half of what goes onto the national convention — goes to support international missions. Most state conventions are keeping about two-thirds of your money. So, one-third goes on to the national convention and of that half goes on to international missions. I would just like for members of churches to know that, so that local congregations can make decisions regarding their giving with that in mind.

What motivates you as a pastor?

Dever: The glory of God and desiring to see Him honored in my life and in the lives of the members of my congregation.

Are you ready to become a pastor, counselor, or church leader who is Trusted for Truth?

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