I think it’s safe to say that pastors (should be) leaders. The real question is, what are they leading? Yes, they are leading people, but where are the people in their congregations? The majority of pastors I know are not leading movements of disciples. They may be leading people to grow spiritually, help others, or keep ministries going. Few, however, are leading movements of making fully trained disciples.
The problem with pastors leading things other than movements of disciple making is that it is a direct contradiction to how Jesus led. The entirety of Christ’s ministry was spent leading a movement. Jesus started Christianity to be a movement of multiplying disciples that would reach all nations.
Jesus said In John 20:21, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” In essence, Jesus is telling His disciples (us) to lead like He led. He is sending us to do the exact same thing the Father sent Him to do. If the Father sent Jesus to start a movement of multiplying disciples to reach all nations, then we are here to do the exact same thing. Pastors are placed in churches to lead those churches to become movements of multiplying disciples. If you are a pastor who may be considering this information for the first time, you might consider: it is time to change the way I’m leading?
The main task for a Christian pastor is to lead their congregation to help untrained seekers become fully trained disciples the same way Jesus did. That means preaching, shepherding, counseling, and all the other things a pastor does are all part of the process of leading a movement. If pastors do everything well but do not lead their churches to be part of a movement of multiplying disciples, they have missed the main mission.
The main mission is not to preach sermons, to be a great shepherd, or to lead an efficient organization. The main mission is to reach “all nations” (Matthew 28:19), and that mission can only be accomplished if we have a world full of pastors leading churches to become movements of multiplying disciples. As D.L. Moody once said, “Our greatest fear should not be of failures, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.” We must not succeed at all the wrong things and fail at the most important thing.
Movement-leading pastors are pastors who lead their churches to connect with the outside culture and help that culture become part of a Christ-crowd. Movement-leading pastors help people in the crowd connect to Christ-centered community. They help people in community become part of a disciple making core, and they help a core of disciples become called leaders in the mission. That is the strategy Jesus used, and that is how a movement-leading pastor leads.
Impact Discipleship Ministries exists to inspire people and churches to be and build disciples of Jesus Christ. If you would like to learn more about how you can lead your church to be a part of a disciple making movement as a pastor, check out our upcoming pastor equipping groups here. If you are a disciple maker or disciple making leader and want to learn more about how your church can become a part of a disciple making movements, contact us and let us know how we can support you.