I have been the senior pastor of a local church for over thirty years. Many times in the last thirty years, I have had to “reset” my life and ministry. When I am in need of a reset, I always ask myself two questions. First, what am I called to do? Second, how well am I doing at accomplishing what I’m called to do? These two questions help me to recalibrate my life and help me get back to what I really need to be doing.
Seminary helped prepare me for ministry in several important ways. It increased my theological understanding, it helped me in my preaching, and it better prepared me to provide pastoral care. It did not do a very good job of teaching me how to lead the church to be a disciple making church. That is a major problem, especially when the mission of the Church is to help Christians make disciples of all nations.
The job of every pastor is to preach and provide pastoral care, but it is also the pastor’s job to lead the church to accomplish Jesus’ mission. If I preach outstanding messages and provide great pastoral care but fail to lead my church to be a disciple making church, I have not done my job.
Some would say seminary does not do a good job of teaching pastors leadership. I would take that a step farther and say that seminaries don’t do a very good job of teaching pastors disciple making leadership.
Three decades of ministry have taught me some things seminary never did. It has taught me the six priorities of a disciple making pastor. These six things are not automatic, they must be learned. All six of them are found in the life of Christ and therefore should be found in every pastor. Let’s take a look at the six things every pastor ought to be able to do.
Lead the church toward mission! The number one leadership tsk of the pastor is to point the church toward the mission of making disciples of all nations. By doing so, the pastor’s job is to get everyone going in the right direction and the same direction.
Lead themself first! Before a pastor every leads anyone else to multiply disciples, that pastor must first be modeling being and building disciples. That pastor must be doing exactly what is asked of everyone else in the congregation.
Lead the church to execute the mission! Knowing and pointing toward mission is not enough. The pastor must know how to execute the strategy that accomplishes the mission. The pastor must be able to lead the church to help untrained seekers become fully trained disciples.
Lead leaders! A church cannot become a movement of multiplying disciples unless the pastor can become a leader of leaders. If the pastor cannot lead leader the church will remain a movement of edition and never become a movement of multiplication.
Lead with a plan! If pastors do not tell their lives where to go, someone else will. Many pastors are not making disciples because they do not have a plan for how to live their lives. Making disciples will not happen by accident. You must have a plan for how to lead the church and you must work your plan.
Lead well! Leading well is not the same thing as finishing well, although it includes it. Leading well brings with it the idea of thriving and flourishing until the end. It means leaving behind a legacy of disciples who are making more disciples. Leading well means having a “much fruit” life.
Impact Discipleship Ministries provides equipping groups for pastors who want to become disciple making pastors. In seven online sessions, you will learn the priorities of what it means to be a disciple making pastor. Check out our equipping groups here if you are interested in learning more!