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Your Small Group Needs These Three Elements To Deepen The Spiritual Maturity Of Your People $

Your Small Group Needs These Three Elements To Deepen The Spiritual Maturity Of Your People

Your Small Group Needs These Three Elements To Deepen The Spiritual Maturity Of Your People

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There are three necessary components to the Disciple Making Process that work together to bring about spiritual maturity in people's lives.

1. The Word of God

Without the Word of God, a small group would be nothing more than a social gathering. There is nothing wrong with a social gathering, but they can't be used to develop a disciple making church. We have seen small groups that focus on 'hot topics' or 'important life lessons'. Some of the lessons are Bible centered, but many are more aligned with humanism or self-help philosophies than with the Word of God. We have also seen groups that get together to share struggles and pray. More often than not, they don't get down to much praying, and they tend to do a lot of affirming without much direction from God's Word.

Because we are prone to wander from the truth ( 2 Timothy 4:3-4 ) a small group should be committed to regular Bible study and should root out any attempts at life change in careful application of the study. Bibles must be opened, read, studied, and learned from. It is impossible to overstate the importance of getting into the Word of God for discipleship.

2. The Spirit of God

The power to change our lives does not come from us. I've seen churches that promote the dangerous idea that if we just grit our teeth and try harder to clean ourselves up, then all will be well. The 'try harder' concept is something we can all fall into if we are not careful, but it eventually leads to a cycle of failure, guilt, and separation from God. The Spirit of God is the one who ultimately does the work of God in our lives. ( 2 Corinthians 3:18 )

We do have a hand, however, in the transformation process. Christ invites us to remain in him as he is pruning us to be even more effective and bear more spiritual fruit. Our will and our decision-making capability clearly factor into the equation. The Bible calls us to cooperate with God as the Holy Spirit works in our lives ( 2 Peter 1:5-7) Yet even though we are involved in the process, the Spirit of God does the work of transforming us.

This means that individuals as well as those who lead small groups must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. We don't invite people to join a small group because we think we have something special to offer them. The power to change doesn't come from the group itself. But the group is a biblical relational environment used by God to be the means by which his Spirit brings lasting transformation to people's lives.

3. The People of God

So how do people change? How do we grow as disciples of Jesus? What is it that changes us? It's the Word of God and Spirit of God working together with the people of God. If you carefully study the Scriptures you will find that almost every instruction in the Bible contains either a vertical directive or a horizontal directive. As Jesus said to his disciples, all of the Law and the Prophets can be summed up in the simple directive to love God and love others.

This means we cannot separate relationships from the disciple making process. Our interactions with other people are one of the means God uses to teach us truth. Relationships in the body of Christ are where we learn from others what a mature Christian life looks like.

Love is the ultimate sign of true discipleship ( John 13:34-35 ). Learning to love others is a huge component of the disciple-making process. If we aren't intentionally striving to get along with other people, we are not growing in this area; we are not becoming spiritually mature, despite the amount of biblical information we may have acquired. It's as simple as that.

God has built us with a relational need, and we can grow only as we engage in relationships with other believers. Failure to grow in this way leads to an unsatisfying form of Christianity, and unsatisfied Christians won't fight the spiritual fight as they should and are certainly not attractive to the lost. In order to be disciples who make disciples, we must be relationally connected with others. We need to be encouraged and challenged by others who will help us grow to maturity as followers of Christ.

DiscipleShift bookThe above is taken from:

DiscipleShift

by Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert Coleman.

To read more about this topic, order the book DiscipleShift.

Also, check out our  DiscipleShift1 training page for more info, dates and locations.

Price: $0.00

Loading Updating cart...

Your Small Group Needs These Three Elements To Deepen The Spiritual Maturity Of Your People

$

entrepreneur-593358_1920

There are three necessary components to the Disciple Making Process that work together to bring about spiritual maturity in people's lives.

1. The Word of God

Without the Word of God, a small group would be nothing more than a social gathering. There is nothing wrong with a social gathering, but they can't be used to develop a disciple making church. We have seen small groups that focus on 'hot topics' or 'important life lessons'. Some of the lessons are Bible centered, but many are more aligned with humanism or self-help philosophies than with the Word of God. We have also seen groups that get together to share struggles and pray. More often than not, they don't get down to much praying, and they tend to do a lot of affirming without much direction from God's Word.

Because we are prone to wander from the truth ( 2 Timothy 4:3-4 ) a small group should be committed to regular Bible study and should root out any attempts at life change in careful application of the study. Bibles must be opened, read, studied, and learned from. It is impossible to overstate the importance of getting into the Word of God for discipleship.

2. The Spirit of God

The power to change our lives does not come from us. I've seen churches that promote the dangerous idea that if we just grit our teeth and try harder to clean ourselves up, then all will be well. The 'try harder' concept is something we can all fall into if we are not careful, but it eventually leads to a cycle of failure, guilt, and separation from God. The Spirit of God is the one who ultimately does the work of God in our lives. ( 2 Corinthians 3:18 )

We do have a hand, however, in the transformation process. Christ invites us to remain in him as he is pruning us to be even more effective and bear more spiritual fruit. Our will and our decision-making capability clearly factor into the equation. The Bible calls us to cooperate with God as the Holy Spirit works in our lives ( 2 Peter 1:5-7) Yet even though we are involved in the process, the Spirit of God does the work of transforming us.

This means that individuals as well as those who lead small groups must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. We don't invite people to join a small group because we think we have something special to offer them. The power to change doesn't come from the group itself. But the group is a biblical relational environment used by God to be the means by which his Spirit brings lasting transformation to people's lives.

3. The People of God

So how do people change? How do we grow as disciples of Jesus? What is it that changes us? It's the Word of God and Spirit of God working together with the people of God. If you carefully study the Scriptures you will find that almost every instruction in the Bible contains either a vertical directive or a horizontal directive. As Jesus said to his disciples, all of the Law and the Prophets can be summed up in the simple directive to love God and love others.

This means we cannot separate relationships from the disciple making process. Our interactions with other people are one of the means God uses to teach us truth. Relationships in the body of Christ are where we learn from others what a mature Christian life looks like.

Love is the ultimate sign of true discipleship ( John 13:34-35 ). Learning to love others is a huge component of the disciple-making process. If we aren't intentionally striving to get along with other people, we are not growing in this area; we are not becoming spiritually mature, despite the amount of biblical information we may have acquired. It's as simple as that.

God has built us with a relational need, and we can grow only as we engage in relationships with other believers. Failure to grow in this way leads to an unsatisfying form of Christianity, and unsatisfied Christians won't fight the spiritual fight as they should and are certainly not attractive to the lost. In order to be disciples who make disciples, we must be relationally connected with others. We need to be encouraged and challenged by others who will help us grow to maturity as followers of Christ.

DiscipleShift bookThe above is taken from:

DiscipleShift

by Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert Coleman.

To read more about this topic, order the book DiscipleShift.

Also, check out our  DiscipleShift1 training page for more info, dates and locations.

Is the environment in your church changing lives? Try this! $

Is the environment in your church changing lives? Try this!

Is the environment in your church changing lives? Try this!

Is the environment in your church changing lives?

Jim Putman says doing this one thing might help!

Startup Stock Photos

Startup Stock Photos

Being disciples of Jesus and making disciples of Jesus - discipleship - has been a forefront topic for the past couple of years in churches and leadership conferences across the country. It is an accepted and acknowledged commission of the church given to us by Jesus himself in Acts 28:19. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." Seems pretty simple right? This means every church should be a disciple making church, with a culture that promotes and enables discipleship.

Of course, there are also people involved in the process..... And whenever people enter the picture, things can quickly go from simple to complicated! Creating a culture means bringing leaders, teams, and members into alignment towards the same goal. And then constantly beating that drum to keep the vision and mission in the forefront. One of the first and easiest way to muddy the water of a culture is by not having a unified definition of terms.

Because of this, the first place to begin to build a culture of disciple making in your church is to have a unified, biblical, simple definition of a disciple of Jesus. Because lets face it - people are always creating disciples, followers, imitators. They just aren't always disciples of Jesus. If you don't begin with a solid, unified pattern of what you are creating, you will end up with a wide range of results.

In our DiscipleShift 1 trainings, one of the first things we ask in our small group sessions is for the group to privately write down their definition of a disciple. The definitions are then handed in to the Group Facilitator who reads them aloud. It is the rare group that all write down the same definition. The majority of the time, the teams that serve together all have definitions that vary a little bit, with some being substantially different! There is always some surprise from the team leader or senior pastor when this happens, as they often assume everyone is on the same page.

Senior Pastor Jim Putman addresses the problem this way - " So, if you're on a football team and you call a play in the huddle, but not one person defines the play the same way, what happens when you get to the line of scrimmage? Chaos! And that chaos ensures that the goal of the game is not reached."

At Real Life Ministries, we find the definition of a disciple of Jesus is  captured within the invitation Jesus issued to his disciples in Matthew 4:19 'And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." This is the foundation for our definition, which is -

A disciple of Jesus is one who is:

  • Following Jesus (Follow me)
  • Being changed by Jesus (and I will make you)
  • On mission with Jesus (Fishers of men)

(A free resource of this definition is available for download at the end of this post)

This definition is biblical and simple. And it is intentionally visioncast throughout membership classes, trainings, ministries, and from the pulpit. Repeatedly. Monthly. Yearly... Because people forget. And new people come in. Leaders may get tired of saying the same thing over and over, but it is essential.

This is the passage Real Life Ministries has chosen to use for our unified definition of a disciple of Jesus - that does not mean it is the only passage or words that will work. We encourage the leadership of each church to come up with something that works for them. The point is just to have a Biblical, unified, definition, and to make sure your entire team and church members know it! Then you can move towards alignment in living as disciples of Jesus,  who are making disciples of Jesus!

To learn more about our DiscipleShift 1 Training, where we share Jesus' model of #relationaldiscipleship and how to build a culture of disciple making on your team and within your church, go to our web page a DiscipleShift.org.

We also have a free resource available to help you share with others what a disciple of Jesus is - download it at this link!

DiscipleShapes

 

 

Price: $0.00

Loading Updating cart...

Is the environment in your church changing lives? Try this!

$

Is the environment in your church changing lives?

Jim Putman says doing this one thing might help!

Startup Stock Photos

Startup Stock Photos

Being disciples of Jesus and making disciples of Jesus - discipleship - has been a forefront topic for the past couple of years in churches and leadership conferences across the country. It is an accepted and acknowledged commission of the church given to us by Jesus himself in Acts 28:19. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." Seems pretty simple right? This means every church should be a disciple making church, with a culture that promotes and enables discipleship.

Of course, there are also people involved in the process..... And whenever people enter the picture, things can quickly go from simple to complicated! Creating a culture means bringing leaders, teams, and members into alignment towards the same goal. And then constantly beating that drum to keep the vision and mission in the forefront. One of the first and easiest way to muddy the water of a culture is by not having a unified definition of terms.

Because of this, the first place to begin to build a culture of disciple making in your church is to have a unified, biblical, simple definition of a disciple of Jesus. Because lets face it - people are always creating disciples, followers, imitators. They just aren't always disciples of Jesus. If you don't begin with a solid, unified pattern of what you are creating, you will end up with a wide range of results.

In our DiscipleShift 1 trainings, one of the first things we ask in our small group sessions is for the group to privately write down their definition of a disciple. The definitions are then handed in to the Group Facilitator who reads them aloud. It is the rare group that all write down the same definition. The majority of the time, the teams that serve together all have definitions that vary a little bit, with some being substantially different! There is always some surprise from the team leader or senior pastor when this happens, as they often assume everyone is on the same page.

Senior Pastor Jim Putman addresses the problem this way - " So, if you're on a football team and you call a play in the huddle, but not one person defines the play the same way, what happens when you get to the line of scrimmage? Chaos! And that chaos ensures that the goal of the game is not reached."

At Real Life Ministries, we find the definition of a disciple of Jesus is  captured within the invitation Jesus issued to his disciples in Matthew 4:19 'And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." This is the foundation for our definition, which is -

A disciple of Jesus is one who is:

  • Following Jesus (Follow me)
  • Being changed by Jesus (and I will make you)
  • On mission with Jesus (Fishers of men)

(A free resource of this definition is available for download at the end of this post)

This definition is biblical and simple. And it is intentionally visioncast throughout membership classes, trainings, ministries, and from the pulpit. Repeatedly. Monthly. Yearly... Because people forget. And new people come in. Leaders may get tired of saying the same thing over and over, but it is essential.

This is the passage Real Life Ministries has chosen to use for our unified definition of a disciple of Jesus - that does not mean it is the only passage or words that will work. We encourage the leadership of each church to come up with something that works for them. The point is just to have a Biblical, unified, definition, and to make sure your entire team and church members know it! Then you can move towards alignment in living as disciples of Jesus,  who are making disciples of Jesus!

To learn more about our DiscipleShift 1 Training, where we share Jesus' model of #relationaldiscipleship and how to build a culture of disciple making on your team and within your church, go to our web page a DiscipleShift.org.

We also have a free resource available to help you share with others what a disciple of Jesus is - download it at this link!

DiscipleShapes

 

 

Top Leaders Questions About Becoming A Disciple Making Church $

Top Leaders Questions About Becoming A Disciple Making Church

Top Leaders Questions About Becoming A Disciple Making Church

Each month at our DiscipleShift1 training we have a panel of leaders that answer any questions the attendee's may have about the Relational Discipleship model presented in the training. This leadership panel represents RDN (Relational Discipleship Network) churches from across the country that have had years of experience working with this model. Their backgrounds and knowledge include church planting, leading change in a long established church, moving from a Sunday school model to a small group model, and much more.

The following is a video of the Q&A panel at the DiscipleShift1 in October 2015 that took place in Post Falls, Idaho.

The leadership in the Q&A panel are Jim Putman, Real Life Ministries (Post Falls, ID), Richie Shaw, Real Life Spokane (Spokane, Washington) and Rob Cizek, Northshore Christian Church (Everett, Washington).

If you have questions that are not addressed in this video, please feel free to leave your question in the comment field below.

If you would like more information on DiscipleShift1 training, please visit our webpage at: DiscipleShift.org

Price: $0.00

Loading Updating cart...

Top Leaders Questions About Becoming A Disciple Making Church

$

Each month at our DiscipleShift1 training we have a panel of leaders that answer any questions the attendee's may have about the Relational Discipleship model presented in the training. This leadership panel represents RDN (Relational Discipleship Network) churches from across the country that have had years of experience working with this model. Their backgrounds and knowledge include church planting, leading change in a long established church, moving from a Sunday school model to a small group model, and much more.

The following is a video of the Q&A panel at the DiscipleShift1 in October 2015 that took place in Post Falls, Idaho.

The leadership in the Q&A panel are Jim Putman, Real Life Ministries (Post Falls, ID), Richie Shaw, Real Life Spokane (Spokane, Washington) and Rob Cizek, Northshore Christian Church (Everett, Washington).

If you have questions that are not addressed in this video, please feel free to leave your question in the comment field below.

If you would like more information on DiscipleShift1 training, please visit our webpage at: DiscipleShift.org

12 Simple Small Group Guidelines You Should Be Using $

12 Simple Small Group Guidelines You Should Be Using

12 Simple Small Group Guidelines You Should Be Using

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12 Simple Small Group Guidelines You Should Be Using

It is vitally important to the health a small group that the small group leader lays a foundation by setting some guidelines for group time. Having some guidelines set up will give the people in the group some boundaries to operate within. It also helps in creating an environment that is safe for transparency, vulnerability, sharing and growing closer in relationship with each other and with God. Setting some basic small group guidelines for how you will honor one another in our group discussions is important.

Small Group Guidelines...

  • ...give boundaries for people to operate within.
  • ...help with the flow and pace of the discussions.
  • ...help us value one another.
  • ...help people to be more comfortable sharing deep and meaningful things.

 

The following list of small group guidelines is what Real Life Ministries puts in place in their home groups.

 

SAFE GROUP:

We will strive to create an environment where everyone can be real, open, and honest with their struggles and victories.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY:

What is said in the group stays in the group.

 

LISTEN:

Let’s value one another during the discussions by really listening to what is being shared. Try to avoid thinking about how you are going to respond, or what you are going to say next.

 

PAUSE:

Allow a pause in conversation after someone shares. Give the person sharing the chance to finish and the group the opportunity to consider what was just shared before responding.

 

SILENCE:

It is important to allow silence in the group as it provides an opportunity for someone to share and for members in the group to process the topic or question being considered.

 

NO “CROSS TALK”:

Be considerate of others as they are sharing. No side conversations.

 

NO FIXING:

We are not here to fix each other. Jesus does that part. Give encouragement; speak truth, and point to Jesus. Don’t try to solve or fix each other.

 

NO RESCUING:

When people are sharing something deeply personal, there can be a tendency to try to make them feel better about themselves or the situation by providing immediate condolences. This will often cause them to stop sharing. Resist the temptation to rescue people.

 

SHARING:

Be sensitive about the amount of time you share.

 

BE SELF-AWARE:

Be self-aware of how you are personally effecting the environment through your words, actions and non-verbal communication.

 

USE “I” STATEMENTS:

It’s easy to talk about the issues of others, but for our purposes, we want you to put yourself on the table. Try to use “I” statements rather than “them”, “the church”, “us”, “we”, etc.

 

CONFLICT:

We will commit to resolve conflict biblically. When conflict or sin issues between group members arise, we want to make sure that we are honoring God and each other in the way we deal with these issues.

The following are just a few key Scriptures in this regard (there are many others).

  • If someone sins against you (Matthew 18:15-20)
  • Restoring someone in sin (Galatians 6:1-5)
  • Forgive a sinner (Colossians 3:12-13)
  • Reconciling differences (Matthew 5:23-24, Matthew 7:1-5)

 

Price: $0.00

Loading Updating cart...

12 Simple Small Group Guidelines You Should Be Using

$

th

12 Simple Small Group Guidelines You Should Be Using

It is vitally important to the health a small group that the small group leader lays a foundation by setting some guidelines for group time. Having some guidelines set up will give the people in the group some boundaries to operate within. It also helps in creating an environment that is safe for transparency, vulnerability, sharing and growing closer in relationship with each other and with God. Setting some basic small group guidelines for how you will honor one another in our group discussions is important.

Small Group Guidelines...

  • ...give boundaries for people to operate within.
  • ...help with the flow and pace of the discussions.
  • ...help us value one another.
  • ...help people to be more comfortable sharing deep and meaningful things.

 

The following list of small group guidelines is what Real Life Ministries puts in place in their home groups.

 

SAFE GROUP:

We will strive to create an environment where everyone can be real, open, and honest with their struggles and victories.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY:

What is said in the group stays in the group.

 

LISTEN:

Let’s value one another during the discussions by really listening to what is being shared. Try to avoid thinking about how you are going to respond, or what you are going to say next.

 

PAUSE:

Allow a pause in conversation after someone shares. Give the person sharing the chance to finish and the group the opportunity to consider what was just shared before responding.

 

SILENCE:

It is important to allow silence in the group as it provides an opportunity for someone to share and for members in the group to process the topic or question being considered.

 

NO “CROSS TALK”:

Be considerate of others as they are sharing. No side conversations.

 

NO FIXING:

We are not here to fix each other. Jesus does that part. Give encouragement; speak truth, and point to Jesus. Don’t try to solve or fix each other.

 

NO RESCUING:

When people are sharing something deeply personal, there can be a tendency to try to make them feel better about themselves or the situation by providing immediate condolences. This will often cause them to stop sharing. Resist the temptation to rescue people.

 

SHARING:

Be sensitive about the amount of time you share.

 

BE SELF-AWARE:

Be self-aware of how you are personally effecting the environment through your words, actions and non-verbal communication.

 

USE “I” STATEMENTS:

It’s easy to talk about the issues of others, but for our purposes, we want you to put yourself on the table. Try to use “I” statements rather than “them”, “the church”, “us”, “we”, etc.

 

CONFLICT:

We will commit to resolve conflict biblically. When conflict or sin issues between group members arise, we want to make sure that we are honoring God and each other in the way we deal with these issues.

The following are just a few key Scriptures in this regard (there are many others).

  • If someone sins against you (Matthew 18:15-20)
  • Restoring someone in sin (Galatians 6:1-5)
  • Forgive a sinner (Colossians 3:12-13)
  • Reconciling differences (Matthew 5:23-24, Matthew 7:1-5)

 

4 Main Roles of a Disciple Making Pastor $

4 Main Roles of a Disciple Making Pastor

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 book 'Discipleshift' by Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E. Coleman.)

Price: $0.00

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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 book 'Discipleshift' by Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E. Coleman.)