4 Main Roles of a Disciple Making Pastor

Jesus was the master disciple maker. While we need to be careful in assuming that we should do everything Jesus did, much of what he did serves as an example to us. Looking at Jesus’ life helps us better understand what it means to be a mature believer. Looking at his life, we begin to see that fruitfulness in ministry is not just a matter of rolling up your sleeves and working harder, especially if you are doing things in an ineffective manner. Jesus used a method, and it is a method we would be wise to adopt.

If you want to make the shift to become a disciple-making pastor, your ministry needs to revolve around the following four main roles:

1.  An Authentic Disciple

Your Biblical leadership begins with who we are and our walk with God. Pastors must learn to walk with God daily. This is why church leaders are men of prayer, Bible study, and the inner life of the spirit. When we walk authentically with God, it gives legitimacy to our teaching and leadership.

It is especially important to live out the life of an authentic disciple with our families. Too many church leaders neglect the most important mission field of all – their own homes. When we walk with God together with our families, this becomes the daily testing ground that authenticates the teaching and leading we do in the church.

2. A Discipleship-System Builder

A church leader is not just a disciple, or even just a disciple maker. A disciple is a person who follows Jesus, is transformed by Jesus, and joins Jesus on his mission; that’s the job of every believer. A disciple maker makes disciples. Every Christian has that job. A pastor is more than that. He has been given the task of leading a church in which he is to create a system in which people are taught how to be disciples. In other words, he and his team are called to lead in the development of a church-wide system that will make disciples who make disciples. Leadership is a responsibility that is broader than just discipling others or leading a small group. As a church leader, your job is to create the community-wide system in which people can be involved in relational environments for the purpose of discipleship. You are an overseer of a disciple-making community.

3.  A Developer Of Leaders

The third role of a pastor in a disciple-making church is that of a developer of leaders. Everyone is a disciple and should grow into an effective disciple maker, but not everyone is gifted as a leader. So how do you find leaders? Some pastors lament the lack of leaders in their church. But oftentimes the leaders are already there in the body, they are just undeveloped or overlooked. God promises that he will supply all we need in terms of gifted people to complete the mission he gave us. (see Matt. 16:18; Rom. 12:4-8; Phil. 4:19)

If we discern that a person is a leader, and has the ability to spiritually manage other people and help them journey in a good direction, we must help that person grow through the spiritual stages of development, training them to become the kind of organizational leader God wants them to be.

4. A Vision Caster

A church leader must be able to cast the vision that creates the disciple-making culture of the church.  He should be sharing the vision from the pulpit and at every opportunity he has with the other leaders and people in the church. He must continually tell them, “This is our vision, this is where we are going, this is what we are all about.” Every sermon is both a teaching opportunity and a vision-casting opportunity, a way of showing people what God has called the church to be and to do. People forget. People drift in their thinking. People get new ideas and want to explore different directions in a church. But the church’s primary mission is to create disciples who make disciples, just as Jesus intended us to do. Leaders get tired, discouraged and beat up. A pastor needs to continually remind and encourage his leaders to stay the course – keep making disciples who make other disciples.

Remember that as the head leads the body follows, and if we want churches to be as effective as they can be, church leaders must be fully committed and involved in shaping the process. And if you are a leader, it starts with you.

To find out more about becoming a Disciple Making Church, check out DiscipleShift1 training.


(The above is taken from the bookDiscipleshift by Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E. Coleman.)