This past week I came to the conclusion that the Church has a serious problem with pastors. I actually knew this problem existed way before this past week, but I witnessed something that confirmed my suspicion.
I was at a luncheon this week with a room of around 70 to 80 pastors. They had all gathered to listen to a discussion about the Great Commission. During the discussion, the pastors were asked to raise their hands if they had never been discipled. I was shocked but not surprised at how many pastors’ hands went up. Almost half the pastors in that room had never been discipled!
If we have a room with half the pastors having never been discipled, is it any wonder why we have churches that are not making any disciples? The old principle “we do what we see” applies here. If pastors have never personally experienced discipleship, it is unlikely that they will ever be disciple makers.
Pastors have a problem. How can they lead their churches to be disciple making churches when they have never been taught? If churches are not making disciples, we will continue to get pastors that have never been discipled and will continue without making new disciples. It is a vicious cycle, and somehow, the cycle must be stopped. We need churches disciple making churches that produce disciple making pastors.
To be 100% transparent, I had never been discipled when I became a pastor. It happens more than we’d like to think. I actually became a disciple maker out of necessity. After leading a student retreat, I knew I needed to help some young men who made decisions for Christ to grow spiritually. Since I knew Jesus had spent time making disciples in a small group, I decided to try and do the same. It worked in that they also became disciple makers, and I was hooked. Leading that first discipleship group nearly forty years ago has taken me on a journey of learning how to be a disciple and build disciples. I learned disciple making through trial and error, and there is no going back. Jesus-style disciple making is the only way to go, and the good news is we have a model in Jesus to show us how to do it. Even if we do not have models and mentors for disciple making churches, we still have the Master disciple maker to follow.
One of the commitments I have made in the later half of ministry is to help other pastors become disciple making pastors. This coming fall, I am kicking off an equipping group for a limited number of pastors who are interested in a six month process including a monthly meeting and assignments for becoming a disciple making pastor. If you are interested in joining this group, or know someone who is, please contact us at email@example.com.