Sometimes people ask questions that are hard to believe they even need to be asked. Asking a pastor if he has ever been discipled is one of those questions. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems there is a serious disconnect when the mission of the Church is to “make disciples” and a large percentage of pastors leading the mission have never been discipled.
Of course, pastors can make disciples without being discipled, but the odds are not in their favor if they have not been discipled. We usually tend to do with others what we have experienced ourselves. In other words, we reproduce what we have become.
I know this to be true because I have experienced it firsthand. I grew up in a great family and a great church, but was never discipled in an intentional way. I experienced lots of great Sunday school classes and church services, but no one ever took me under his or her wing and intentionally invested in my spiritual development through discipleship.
Actually, I personally stumbled onto the concept of discipleship by accident. After leading a handful of young men to Christ, I knew I needed to help them grow and I knew that Jesus’ life was the model for how to do that. Over a period of months, I met regularly with these young men and did my best to teach them all I could about what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus.
Thankfully, my experience discipling these young men led me to desire to learn more about Jesus’ style disciple making. I committed myself to learning everything I could about how Jesus made disciples that made more disciples. I’m still learning, but I have come to the point where I am convinced disciple making is the key to changing the world. Yes, pastors can learn to be and build disciples on their own, but it works best if they have experienced it firsthand.
It may seem impossible to turn the ship around, but there needs to be a way that pastors can be discipled and learn how to disciple others by being in the process themselves. Clearly, turning this ship around would take time and a level of intentionality that might be impractical. Still, the process must start somewhere.
I do believe turning the ship begins with a commitment. If more pastors would make a commitment to learning what it means to be a disciple and build disciples, progress can be made. As daunting as the task seems, remember the whole disciple making process started with only twelve guys.
If existing seminaries started teaching Jesus style disciple making, and pastors started learning how to make disciples, the tide would turn. Slowly but surely, the Church could be led by pastors who had actually been discipled.
At Impact Discipleship Ministries, we are trying to do our part to help disciple pastors. If you are interested in participating in an equipping group for Disciple Making Pastors, please contact us at impactdisciples.com for more information. We would love to help you learn to be and build disciples.