When my daughter was baptized at the age of 7, a woman in our church asked my wife, Mary Leigh, and me, “Now, how will you disciple her?”
The thought never occurred to us. We were immersed in our church plant.
Our daughter would attend Sunday School and church each week. We would have devotions, Bible reading and pray together every day. We would also have spiritual discussions and sing Christian songs along the way.
At a denominee leader meeting in January, we were presented with the quote that 70–80% of all pastors in the U.S. have never been discipled.
Spiritual life at home
In my daughter’s case the question had been one of intentionality.
Sitting and getting information in a Bible study class week after week wasn’t the same thing as experiencing spiritual transformation. Having sermons wash over you may or may not be intentional discipleship.
We tried to immerse our daughter in a home steeped in a missionary lifestyle, but looking back there was nothing planned in what we did with her spiritual walk.
The idea that pastors could receive information in a one-way information dump and yet not be discipled is troubling.
Is that why our churches make church attenders but can’t make disciples? I was in a youth group, attended seminary and attended lots of church services. But was I discipled?
The bigger question for all of us is: “Are we intentional disciple-makers?”
By Mark Snowden
Director, Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
“Authentic Christianity is not increasing levels of commitment grudgingly given to God; it is surrender to Jesus out of a sense of privilege in having Him.”
Ray Ortlund Jr.
“Our best model for not compromising our standards is also our best model in every area of life: Jesus.”
Dr. Ben Carson
As I listen to pastors who love their calling and consider our great and blessed responsibility, I want to remind us all of a few truths about good pastors. Good pastors:
- Love people and long for life change in others
- Wrestle with the burdens of others and the challenges of church duties while fervently seeking God’s wisdom to help guide with both
- Like everyone else, get tired, need encouragement, and fall short
- Strive to keep a healthy harmony at home and with church
- Seek to allow God to fight for them rather than fighting for themselves.
I’m grateful for pastor friends, and good pastors I know who love God, encourage me, and strive to care well for the flock they are entrusted to serve.
If you have a good pastor, encourage him. Pray for him. Walk with him. I know he will be grateful, and you’ll be better for doing so.
Pastor Robert Hefner
Pleasant Garden Baptist Church, North Carolina
“These families and these women are moved from place to place all over the world,” said Adam Bennett, pastor of Bay Back Church, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, of the military families at the church. “If we can equip them with the gospel, theological training and the ability and passion to share the gospel, can you imagine planting churches outside of military bases and reaching the [local] population?”
“I am nothing without Him. My accomplishments are not what defines me,” said Evita Griskenas, a U.S. Olympian, World Games competitor and multiple gold medal winner in rhythmic gymnastics.
“When we recognize we may be diverging from the main thing, we should think about something else,” said pastor and author Craig Etheredge, who recently wrote “The Disciple-Making Leader.”
“God does choose all the wrong people. If you read through the Bible, all the wrong people were chosen by God so He could make them the right people — so He would get the glory,” says Jenny Waltman, author of “God Chose the Wrong Person: Surrendering to His Plan, Not Mine.”
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” James 1:19–20
FROM THE TWITTERVERSE
“Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The Church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work.” —Baptist Faith and Message 2000
The pastor who will not put on his big boy pants and lead, risking losing his job or members, is in the end a hireling or a manager, not a leader. We will all give an account of our leadership one day before the throne.
Parents: Worship is more than congregational but it is never less. Your children seeing you committed to corporate church worship is a blessing for which there is no acceptable substitute.
Valuing people is the foundation of servant leadership.
You may be a small-town pastor if you’ve ever said this after the benediction at the close of a worship service: “There’s zucchini in the foyer for anyone who would like some.”
Don’t allow yourself to be too proud to constantly and publicly confess your need for God’s rescuing, forgiving and transforming grace.
Corporate prayer should not be a time filibuster or a seamless segue into the next song in the worship set. We devalue prayer when we see it as a time filler or point of transition and not the engine that powers the church.
Getting to the gospel in our conversations is not so much a matter of “how to,” as it is “want to.” We instinctively know how to talk about the things that interest us. For that reason, the more interested we are in the gospel, the more we should expect ourselves to talk about it.