Crucial Aspects of a Disciple Making Pastor

4 02 2013

These are my notes from Mark Dever’s session on the  Centrality of the Church in Disciple-Making at the 2013 Desiring God National Pastor’s conference. I listened via live-stream and you can do so too by clicking HERE. To hear audio of the message click here.

4 Crucial Aspects of a Disciple Making Pastor:

  1. Preaching: Don’t think that making disciples is something that happens in just 1 on 1 meetings.  The most fundamental way for a Pastor to make disciples is through preaching God’s Word. God uses His word to create faith- 1 Thess. 2:13, Heb. 4:12, James 1:21.  God creates His people by His Word.  If you want life, health, and holiness in your local church it must be done God’s way- through His Word. We must teach our congregations to value God’s Word over programs.  Preaching God’s Word is primary.  The heart of your public ministry as a Pastor is your private study of God’s Word; pouring over it, praying over it.  You must give yourself to the study of God’s Word. What did Paul say to Timothy? “Preach the Word!”
  2. Prayer: In your personal life, pray. In your home, pray. In your meetings with others, pray. In your public services devote so much time to prayer that nominal Christians are bored with so much time committed to talking with the God they claim to know. Lead your people into praying to God.  Diligently call upon God by prayer, so that you may able to teach and exhort with wholesome doctrine. Prayer shows our dependence upon God.

How should pastors pray/what should they pray for?

      •    Prayers of Paul 2 Thess. 1, etc. Allow the prayers of Paul to guide your prayers.
      •    Pray that your preaching the gospel would be faithful accurate and clear.
      •    Pray for the increasing maturity of the congregation- growth in love, sound doctrine, etc.
      •    Pray for sinners to be converted and the church built up through the preaching of the Gospel
      •    Pray for opportunities for yourself and others for personal evangelism.

Dever also gave these practical examples: In Capitol Hill’s regular gathering of believers they have 3 different types of prayers offered publically during the service- Prayers of praise, prayers of confession, Pastoral prayer of intercession.  Dever also suggested to use church directory to pray for church members individually , prayers for church members don’t have to be long, just biblical

3. PersonalDiscipling Relationships: If you’re in the type of congregation that people get upset about the pastor having “friends” confront that and call the people to repentance. Through your discipleship relationships the church as a whole will be built up.  Suggest a book to others and go through it together weekly, or every other week, or as often as you can.  The goal is to get to know them and to love them and to be a blessing to them spiritually. Initiate these types of relationships. Personal discipleship is another channel in which the Word can flow into people’s lives. Encourage a culture of discipleship within the church. What do you mean that you are following Christ if you’re not helping others follow Jesus? Hard-bake that into your definition of being a Christian. Another byproduct of personal discipling relationships is it will help in breaking down the resistance some may have to your leadership as a Pastor. Helps break down the “we vs. him” barrier.

4. Patience: Run at a pace your congregation can keep. The key to having patience is having a right perspective of time, eternity, and success.

      1. Time: Think in terms of 10, 20, 30,40, or even 50 years of ministry! We don’t often have this type of perspective. Are you in it with your church for the long haul or moving up the ladder by taking another church? Are you building a congregation or a career. Stay with them. Keep bleeding, keep loving.
      2. Eternity: One day we will be held accountable by God for the way we fed His lambs.  He will know how we handled His sheep. Shepherd the flock in a way that you will not be ashamed before the Lord (cf. Col 3:23ff).
      3. Success: If you define success by numbers you will result to methods that draw crowds without the preaching of the Gospel.  If you define success by faithfulness then you are freed to be faithful to God and His Word and let Him do His work.  Confidence in the Christian ministry is in the presence, power, and promises of God.  Confidence comes from the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit makes us adequate through God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:16). Stake your ministry on the power of the Gospel.  Success in ministry is faithfulness in that. So, be patient.

Summary: Preach and pray, love and stay. We will never be faithful ministers if we only consider the ministry in terms of this life. “I know the vanity of your heart, and that you will feel mortified that your congregation is very small, in comparison with those of your brethren around you; but assure yourself on the word of an old man, that when you come to give an account of them to the Lord Christ at his judgment seat, you will think you have had enough.” 19th Century Scottish Pastor, John Brown


Leaders Who Last

11 05 2010


Just finished Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft, leadership development pastor at Mars Hill in Seattle.

This is a short book definitely worth the time reading for anyone in ministry leadership. (Pastors, Youth pastors, etc.)

What I like most about the book is Kraft’s idea that Christ is our foundation for leadership! Obviously this is a biblical concept but many books either seem to assume this idea or just leave it out altogether.  Early on Kraft stresses the importance of maintaining the Spiritual Disciplines, not as a means of earning Grace, but in response to it.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the book for you, but my personal take away was the evaluations listed after each section.  This is a book that I will put on my shelf in an accessible place so that I can reference it periodically in my own walk.  As a leader I must constantly reevaluate my purpose and vision to make sure that I have not strayed away from the path God has set for me and His people.

Hope you’ll read this book and learn well from it…

Click here to see an interview with Dave Kraft about the book

Let Your Leaders Lead

8 02 2010

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”   – Hebrews 13:17

We live in a culture that rejects authority.  Our children naturally reject the authority of their parents.  Parents and other adults naturally reject the authority of others in their life (i.e. government positions, etc.)  What’s alarming today is that this rejection of authority also carries over into the church.

Many people may not realize that God has actually established authority within the church.  In  1 Timothy and Titus (as well as in a few other places) Paul uses the Greek word “episkopos” to refer to what we call a “Pastor”.  This word is usually translated as “overseer” and carries the general connotation of one who is in charge.

Time and again I hear people say things like “That pastor is just trying to run things around here.”  They mean this in a negative way, but really according to Scripture, that’s what the pastor is supposed to be doing!  I obviously don’t mean that the pastor is to be overbearing, or use his authority negatively, but the word of God says that pastors “will have to give an account” for their actions because they have been called by God to keep “watch over your souls.”  I honestly believe that many churches would be in better shape if they trusted their pastor more.  This is not to take away from the pastor’s responsibility to listen to and love his flock.  The pastor will also be wise to take counsel from some of the members of the church regarding certain matters.  But, honestly, how many flocks of sheep have you seen controlling their shepherd? So many churches have it backwards and actually feel like the pastor is under their authority, when in fact, he is under the authority of God.

Remember too that this verse is a direct command.  In fact it contains two imperatives: Obey and submit.  It’s not just suggested that church members obey and submit to leadership in the church, it’s actually commanded in Scripture. 

So to keep this short there is twofold application.  #1 church members must remember that pastors have been appointed over them by God to equip them for the work of the ministry and to keep watch over their souls.  This applies by not running down the pastor to other members of the church and especially outsiders.  This applies by listening to the pastor instead of just discrediting him because he is too young or too old or too black or too white, or too whatever.  This applies by serving God, by serving alongside your pastor in work for the Kingdom.  This applies by church members acknowledging that to not submit and disobey is a sin (obviously if the pastor is saying something against the Word, this command is lifted).  And finally, this applies by church members acknowledging that they were not put into the church just so they could critique the preacher!  God will critique your pastor and work on His heart to make the changes needed…#2 Leaders should remember to serve with joy and not groaning.  This applies by not running down your church.  This applies by understanding the privilege and responsibility you have as a leader and using it for the honor and glory of God. This applies by leading in such a way that your followers can follow you!

God’s church is a beautiful establishment.  He has set it up in a perfect way (even if it is filled with imperfect people!).  Let’s get back to a biblical model for ecclesiology, which begins by letting God’s leaders lead us.