It’s excellent. Although its primary goal is to help pastors cultivate and select leaders in the church, it’s an edifying read not just for people currently serving as pastors or deacons but for
- people who may in the future or
- any Christian since the qualifications for elders (except for the ability to teach) are qualities that should characterize all Christians.
It’s simple, clear, accessible, and wise.
Here’s what Mike Bullmore says about it:
As a member of a pastoral team that is always at some point in the process of identifying, developing, and affirming elders and deacons, I welcome this helpful book by Thabiti Anyabwile. Right from the start, with the simple clarity and conviction of its opening sentences, this book is marked by sound biblical teaching. The consistent transition into the practical counsel at the end of each chapter, however, is where this book really proves its worth. Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons will be a most useful primer for all those who are committed to doing church leadership by the Bible.
- A church without godly leaders is an endangered church. And a church that does not train leaders is an unfaithful church. . . . If a man is not given to discipling others, it’s unlikely that he is called to the pastoral office. (p. 11)
- Some men may “want the office,” but their wanting is really lust for power, and so they are not fit. Conversely, some men who are fit for the office think that wanting it shows pride, ungodly ambition, or impoliteness. Finally, some men are probably qualified, but they either lack the desire or think they are not qualified because they’re holding onto some idea of a “super elder.” (p. 51)
- A man will not lead well until he first shows himself able to submit to leadership. (p. 54)
- Paul’s criterion “able to teach” refers to the ability to communicate and apply the truth of Scripture with clarity, coherence, and fruitfulness. (p. 78)
- If a man supervises but fails to nurture, it’s possible that he’s either a tyrant or an absentee landlord. Neither is fitting for a father, much less an elder. If he only nurtures but fails to supervise, he’s like the permissive good cop or friend to the children—he won’t give appropriate guidance. (p. 96)
- Pride causes us to think more highly of ourselves than of others. It affects how we treat the sheep, perhaps even tempting us to treat them harshly. It also makes us unwilling to follow other leaders. (p. 100)
- Is the prospective elder especially prone to defend himself when criticized? Does he interpret every disagreement as opposition? Pride sometimes manifests itself in an “untouchable” attitude toward the critiques, criticisms, and observations of others. (p. 102)
- Nothing is more pastoral than protecting our people from such soul-threatening deception and error. (p. 112)
- Christians can be too polite. And, generally, we are polite about the wrong things. We tend to think that great charity and liberty are important in doctrinal matters, but narrowness and resoluteness are demanded in debatable social and public policy issues. We are pleased to “call names” when it comes to politicians, but generally we shy away from doing so when it comes to a minister or preacher. Deny the Trinity? It is simply a matter of academic liberty or personal interpretation. But cross the picket line on taxes, and prepare to be tarred and feathered. (pp. 113–14)
- Older pastors should be willing to give opportunity and to take risks when it comes to younger pastors. (p. 132)
- Surround yourself with people who give honest, constructive feedback on the sermons. . . . Share teaching responsibilities with others, if possible. Pastors need help and should actively enlist gifted men in the leadership and in the congregation to help carry the load. (p. 144)
- If everyone sees the pastor’s growth, it suggests that his people were already aware of some of his imperfections and flaws. (p. 149)
- A good pastor surrounds himself with quality men who help him watch his life. Accountability is essential—and not just passive, reactionary accountability but searching, probing, initiative-taking accountability. Pastors need people to ask the tough questions that are avoided in normal conversation, to pursue us rather than merely to listen to us. Elders need Christian friends whose agenda for our holiness is at times more zealous than our own (Prov. 27:17; Heb. 10:24). Elder or pastor, can you list three to five men who have open access to your life? (p. 152)
The book is on sale from WTS books for only $5.50 (sale ends February 1).
The sale extends to all thirteen books in the 9Marks series.