As I write the title of this article, I struggle with a slight cringe factor. Here is the reason why: If the purpose of the Church is to “make disciples,” then shouldn’t every pastor be a disciple making pastor?
Do you understand now why I cringe? Having spent the last thirty years of my life trying to lead a church to make disciples, I have come to realize that disciple making pastors live by six priorities. All six of these priorities come right out of the life of Christ. Jesus is the original and perfect disciple maker, and He is the model of what it means to be a disciple making pastor. Let me give you a quick overview of these six major priorities for creating a disciple making pastor.
#1- Disciple making pastors lead toward mission! The number one task of a pastor is to lead the church in the right direction. A pastor that is not leading a church in the right direction does not need to be a pastor. That being said, if the right direction is to “make disciples of all nations,” then the pastor must lead toward that end. Jesus led with the end in mind. He never lost focus or wavered in where He was leading His followers. Jesus had a clear win. His win was to accomplish the mission of making redemption possible and starting a movement of disciple makers that would pass on the message of redemption. The reason Jesus could pray in John 17:4, “I glorified you on earth having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” is because He led toward mission.
Key question: Is your church making “fully trained” disciples?
#2- Disciple making pastors lead themselves first! As the pastor leads towards mission, He leads himself there first. A disciple making pastor not only knows what the mission is, He is a model of the mission. A disciple making pastor is a disciple and a disciple maker. The disciple making pastor lives the life He is asking everyone else to live. As Jesus made His disciples He lived the life He wanted them to live. Jesus was the model of a perfect disciple and a perfect disciple maker. The character and conduct of Christ are the marks of a “fully trained” disciple. Jesus could make fully trained disciples because He was a fully trained disciple. Jesus lived out walking towards the target He was asking everyone else to aim for.
Key question: Are you living as a “fully trained”, M-7 disciple?
#3- Disciple Making pastors lead the organization! The longer an organization exists, and the bigger it becomes, the greater the tendency is to drift away from the mission. A pastor’s job is to lead a church toward productivity and not just activity. A busy church is not necessarily an effective church, so the pastor must work hard to keep the organization focused on making disciples. The pastor leads in setting the strategy, the structures, and the systems that lead toward the mission. Jesus not only led Himself, He led the twelve to become a foundation for a movement of disciple making. The Church is what it is today because of how Jesus led the original twelve.
Key question: Is your church organized to be a disciple making church?
These three priorities are the first of six priorities that every disciple making pastor lives by. The next three priorities will be addressed in the next post. Be sure to check it out at impactdisciples.com and contact us if you would like to be part of a future Disciple Making Pastor training group. These groups last six months, and new groups will be forming soon. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your name on the list for the first group!