WHAT IF YOUR PASTOR IS NOT INTERESTED IN DISCIPLESHIP OR IMPLEMENTING THESE 10 SUGGESTIONS? THEN WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1. Do not undermine or judge your pastor. The fact is, most pastors have never been discipled themselves nor have they discipled anyone so they are skeptical over why to do this. Another fact is, most seminaries are not teaching this as part of pastoral responsibilities and/or how to implement it into church ministry strategies.
2. You need to pray and prepare yourself to fulfill what God has called you to do as His disciple. I hear from many disciples around the world that have received our materials through a friend or our website and after going through the materials felt the Lord stir their hearts to start discipling others. Fulfilling The Great Commission ourselves is not dependent upon what the church is or is not doing corporately.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
– 2 Timothy 4:3-5
3. Continue to pray for your pastor, share with him what God is doing through you and be a blessing to him and the body you are in.
WHO IS QUALIFIED TO BE A DISCIPLER?
Because the goal of discipleship is to help a young believer develop an intimate relationship with the Savior, learn sound doctrine and grow in spiritual maturity, an individual qualified to disciple must be spiritually mature. In order to make a disciple you must be a disciple. In the early church when the disciples were increasing in number, the need for leaders within the body of Christ also increased. The standard for raising up leaders was simply stated,
“Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.”
“…good reputation…” – Taken from the Greek word, martus, meaning a martyr or a witness. A man or woman of good reputation and integrity, is well reported of by others, and has given testimony or witness of the faith by word and by actions.
“…full of the Holy Spirit…” – Jesus promised that all who came to Him would receive from His fullness, and from their innermost being would flow rivers of living water, referring to the fullness of the Holy Spirit. To be full of the Holy Spirit is to be in constant fellowship with Jesus Christ and to minister to others with the overflow of that intimacy.
“…wisdom…” – Having discretion and a good sense of judgment.
Later Paul wrote to the church in Rome, expressing the necessity of being filled with the fullness of God in order to be able to admonish others. We minister to others with the fullness or overflow of our own personal relationship with Christ.
“Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”
To fulfill the Great Commission, God is not seeking Christians who have attained to all spiritual maturity. He desires to raise up believers who love Him, are committed to knowing Him more intimately, and have a desire to humbly invest themselves and their time to help another Christian walk with God.
“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
-2 Timothy 2:2
In Paul’s final epistle to Timothy he once again stressed the importance of discipleship in the church. Encouraging Timothy to be strong in God’s grace, he challenged him to pour himself into faithful men who would then teach others. It is essential that a discipler be trustworthy and able to follow through on commitments.
Some discipleship programs lack power and fail due to impure motives on the part of the discipler. If pride, superiority, or seeking an opportunity to be looked up to by others is the motivation to disciple a young Christian, God will not bless the relationship.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
The motivation for all we do must be love for Christ and for others. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul wrote that without love our words, service and sacrifice are futile. If we attempt to serve the Lord without His love, He will not be glorified, others will not be edified, and we will not be blessed. Paul, along with Silas and Timothy, spent several months discipling the new believers in Thessalonica. He later wrote an epistle expressing his humility and affection for them, which must be the model for all discipleship relationships.
“But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.
So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might
not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;
as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”
-1 Thessalonians 2:7-13