It is common for pastors to meet with some opposition when they introduce this material to their leadership. Some may feel overwhelmed, some threatened, and others may consider it unnecessary or think that they don’t need help. Reassure the doubters that you are following God’s instruction in 1Timothy 3:1-12 and Titus 2:7. As leaders, they are held responsible by God for every opportunity to give advice, disciple or counsel someone. It is especially sobering for a pastor to be held accountable for their words and deeds, as they are serving under his approval.
When new people want to become involved in Church leadership, either the pastor or a designated person should disciple them through the material and allow a season for observation. They should be faithfully applying the principles, and demonstrate understanding of the truths they have learned before being given a position. We urge you to always take them through all three workbooks even if they are not married or do not have children. This equips them to minister or disciple in areas where the flock may be struggling.
Many pastors have never been discipled and they have not experienced the impact of a mature believer pouring into them for a season by showing the pattern Jesus established with His disciples. It is not giving someone a book and then randomly meeting with them to ask what they learned. Nor is it having them come to a class and/or go through a video series on their own. Discipling involves regular reading and meditating on Bible truths together, helping identify problem areas and setting goals, and establishing a basis for accountability. Our workbooks are set up to accomplish this type of fellowship, teaching and follow-up.
By introducing this material and faithfully applying it, a pastor is following Jesus’ example of teaching and training disciples. We know by experience that pastors doing this are seeing wonderful spiritual growth in the flock. We understand that many may feel this process seems like it takes more time than our already busy life allows, but we cannot stress enough that this lifestyle and the biblical truths that come from this practice are life-changing! If our Lord, and the apostles used this method of discipling to help believers know and follow God’s ways and will, then how can we justify not making the time? Remember, discipling is for every believer and is commanded by God. Leaders are to lead by example.
John 13:15-17 “For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Disciple every believer: Jesus’ Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples…” (Mat 28:19-20), applies to all believers. Yet most Christians cannot relate to being a disciple, as most consider it an elite group, one for which they do not qualify. Many believe that a discipleship class is where they would learn the basics of the Christian faith. Many Churches consider discipling a one-time class, but this is not what Jesus meant when he said “make disciples”. He is our example, and His approach was more personal and took consistent time. Christ intended his followers to be involved with each other through teaching, encouraging, and holding one another accountable. The Bible talks about praying together and even confessing our sins to one another. How many believers are living this lifestyle, or even know that this is God’s plan for them? Every Christian needs to know that Christ has called them to be a disciple. And every Christian needs to know that they also are called to “make disciples”. The Church is to be a mighty force in this evangelism and equipping of God’s children.
In Titus 2:1-10, Paul gives Titus a suggestion for discipling within the Church; the older believers are to teach and exhort the younger, making sure that their own behavior is always an example of holiness and good works based on strong doctrine and self-control. And in Hebrews 5:12-14, the author indicates that believers are to mature, not being babes, but able to feed on the meat of God’s Word. This kind of spiritual progress is the mark of discipleship. The call is to become involved in the lives of others and to make time and help them to learn how to work out God’s will in their life. We also see that the call is not restricted to a pastor and his staff.
What the pastor and his staff owe the flock is a responsibility to put this all in motion. Every believer should be excited at the prospect of becoming a committed disciple of their Lord Jesus Christ. The leadership needs to exemplify this, but without a vision and strategies made clear by the pastor it will not happen. The workbooks we provide are filled with God’s words and truths, tools to use for spiritual growth, for equipping the saints to tend to the three priorities God has put in their life. God speaks of the need for and the value of disciplined living all through His Word. If you follow the instructions and steps set forth in the materials, new patterns will develop and lives will be changed. The follow-up is an essential part of the process, or strategy, and is based on Scripture; follow-up ensures that discipleship is progressing.