“The most powerful weapon in the hands of our Almighty Lord for the destruction of Satan’s dark kingdom is a healthy local church.”
– Andy Davis, First Baptist Church, Durham NC,
Revitalize, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2017), 16.
Dates: November 16-17
There seems like there are so many legitimate ways to live as a church. At the same time, we theologically-driven pastors and church leaders have deep convictions that the Scriptures alone stand as the final authority and guide for how all Christian churches should operate. The tension between biblical conviction and practical outworking causes confusion and second-guessing, or even worse, a stubborn resolve to just do what we think best without considering outside input!
After seminary my doctrine and practice of the church was confident yet still largely uninformed and unchallenged. Capitol Hill Baptist Church and the ministry of 9Marks challenged me to think longer on biblical truth and they gave me practical wisdom to lead a church. They help churches through their 9Marks Weekender.
We want to help you too. Right here in Los Angeles.
Our Weekender immerses church leaders and seminarians in the life of Bethany Baptist Church (BBC) over the course of a weekend. You’ll get an up-close and personal experience with our Sunday gatherings, congregational members’ meeting, focused teaching on the church, plenty of Q&A, and an elders’ (overseers/pastors’) meeting. We don’t want you to replicate all you see because (1) you have some different situational and personnel variables and (2) we’re still in process ourselves! But we do want to show you what we do and the biblical, historical, pastoral, and contextual reasoning behind it.
We hope this creates meaningful relationships with other churches while building each other up. We would love you to join us for the weekend. Bring yourselves and whatever questions you have. From leadership to worship to body life, it’s all on the table!
For healthier LA churches,
P. J. Tibayan
Pastor-Theologian, Bethany Baptist Church, Bellflower, CA
WHY ATTEND A WEEKENDER?
We encourage pastors and church leaders to attend because, just as every Timothy needs a Paul, so every church needs a model. “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 3:17; 4:9). To step out of the church you serve every day and into a new context for a few days helps give you fresh perspective on familiar truths.
You may not implement or even agree with every last thing you see during your visit (you shouldn’t for situational and personnel reasons), but having this biblical model can help develop a clearer path in the way you serve and lead in your local body toward biblical consistency.
Then again, maybe you know where to go, but feel clueless about how to get there: “I know I want elders, but what do they do when they meet? I know I need to preach, but how do I go about preparing sermons week in and week out? I know the budget needs work, but I’m no accountant.” The goal of The 9Marks Weekender is to provide an environment in which leaders can observe and discuss the biblical and practical dynamics of nurturing love and holiness in a local church.
Why call it “Bootleg 9Marks”? Are you joking?
We’re sorta joking. But sorta serious too. Though Ryan Townsend, executive director of 9Marks, gave us permission and encouraged us to call it an official 9marks weekender, we call it “bootleg 9Marks” because we are still in the early stages of church health at BBC (only having a plurality of pastors since August 12th!). Mark Dever told me in September that their first weekenders may have been more helpful because it showed people the process and not so much the matured outcome. BBC faithfully embodies the vision of 9Marks as a newly revitalized church. In 2020 or 2021 we hope to host another 9Marks Weekender with some of the 9Marks team from DC coming to teach alongside us.
WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE?
Saturday, November 16
11:00am Arrival / Check-In (Meet at 10010 Somerset Blvd)
12:00pm Welcome & Lunch (Provided by BBC) + Church Timeline and Reform Discussion
2:00 Deliberate Christ-Centered, Christ-shaped, Bible-Trusting Ministry
3:00pm Membership and Discipline
5:00pm Dinner (Provided by BBC)
6:00pm Elder-Overseer-Pastor Council Orientation
(beginning after a short break)
6:30 or 7:00 pm Elder-Overseer-Pastor Council
9:30pm Elder-Overseer-Pastor Council Q&A
Sunday, November 17
9:00am BBC Divinity School (Membership Considered Class)
10:15am Sunday Morning Worship
12:15pm Lunch in groups (Provided by BBC)
3:00pm Congregational Members’ Meeting
5:00pm Sunday Evening Prayer Meeting
6:45pm Dinner (Provided by BBC), Service Review, Q&A, Weekender feedback
HOW SHALL I BEST PREPARE TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE WEEKENDER? 4 THINGS:
1. Read/Watch 9 Marks of a Healthy Church Statement and short videos (and write down questions)
2. Read What is a Healthy Church? or 9 Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever (and write down questions)
3. Read Deliberate Church by Mark Dever (and write down questions)
4. Read the short article, “The Cross and Criticism” by Alfred J. Poirier.
WHAT ARE THE LOGISTICS?
Housing: Weekenders can drive in both days or seek accommodations at any of the near-by hotels.
Food: We provide lunches and dinners on Saturday, and Sunday.
Travel: Travel plans are left to you. As you’re making travel plans, we strongly encourage you to arrive early or at least on time Saturday, and to refrain from leaving before we end Sunday at 9pm.
Cost (and Scholarships): The cost to register for the Weekender is $50. The registration fee includes the meals listed above as well as resources. We understand some individuals may not be able to afford the full amount. If you need help covering the cost, you can ask for a scholarship in the application. Shepherd LA has limited grants for those in need. Get your questions answered by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spaces are limited to 15 guests at this time.
Bonus Reading/Listening Resources to prepare:
- Listen to Modern Church Reform 1 and Modern Church Reform 2 with Mark Dever
- Listen to Revitalizing a Dying Church, Mark Dever interviewing Andy Davis
- Listen to Service Preparation and Sermon Preparation Seminars
- Read about Service Reviews (from Practical Shepherding: purpose | process; Reasons for it from 9marks)
- Read these 9Marks Journals: Membership; Revitalize; Church Discipline; Confessions, Covenants, Constitutions.
- Read What is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile
- Read A Display of God’s Glory by Mark Dever
- Read Word-Centered Church by Jonathan Leeman
- Read The Rule of Love by Jonathan Leeman
- Read Compelling Community by Jamie Dunlop
- Read Discipling by Mark Dever
- Read Church Membership by Jonathan Leeman
- Read Church Discipline by Jonathan Leeman