New and old pastors need to be reminded of what matters most in ministry. In his new book Gospel-Driven Ministry, Jared Wilson looks at the biblical qualifications for pastors, and then describes a gospel-centered approach to the core practices of pastoral ministry.
In this episode, I ask Jared to reflect on discipling within a gospel-driven ministry.
- The Western phenomenon of the sole professional pastor has created a model of church as dispenser of goods and services. It transforms the pastor into the solo presenter of information, entertainer, and vision caster. It falls short of the biblical vision of church, and can lead to disastrous results.
- Real discipleship can feel inefficient and unproductive. Discipleship is messy and requires time and patience. It requires a faithful plodding.
- Our modern understandings of ministry tend to be industrial, but the Scriptural metaphors for ministry are more agricultural. While there are things we can do in ministry, there are many things we can’t control.
- Discipleship requires both introverts and extroverts to stretch beyond what comes naturally to them.
- Disciple in proximity — Discipleship requires that we get close enough to people.
- Disciple with priority — Wise pastors prioritize the discipling of those who are farther along in the faith.
- Disciple personally — Discipleship is not just about knowing more information, it’s about transformation. That requires asking deeper questions and gradually dealing with personal and hidden issues.
- Seminaries do certain things well, but the church is the ideal environment for making disciples.
- Pastors can set the expectation of what normal Christianity looks like. If you want your church to adopt a culture of discipleship, start by setting an example.
- Don’t try to impose a discipleship program overnight. Start small and grow.
- Invite others to see Jesus not as taskmaster, coach, or efficiency expert, but as friend.
- Be patient with others. Expect slow growth. Offer them gospel and safety and time.
- Pastors: don’t feel bad if you get discouraged sometimes.
- God knew that our moment of crisis was coming. He determined that there would be a COVID class of pastors, and he stewarded this situation to the pastors that we have right now.
- God is raising up young future leaders to shepherd the church, and it’s encouraging.
- If you are not a pastor, commit to being a low-maintenance church member who allows your pastor to breathe.
“Discipleship is messy and takes time. It requires great patience. It requires a faithful plodding.”
“Personally discipling others means being near to them, their problems, their concerns, being able to apply the gospel in ways that are specific to them. And that requires actually getting close to people.”
“One of my biggest regrets from my last pastorate in particular was how little time I spent with low maintenance church members.”
“Discipleship is not just about knowing more information, it’s about transformation. And that requires asking deeper questions and going to more hidden places.”
“What the pastors are, the church will become.”
“Most churches don’t become a culture of discipleship overnight. They have to be trained over time.”
“Programs are best suited for giving people the outlet for a desire they already have. And they’re not great for creating a desire that people don’t have.”
“It all begins with your own communion with Christ.”
“At what pace do normal people change? Are we more impatient than the Holy Spirit is with people’s lives? Sometimes we can be stricter than Jesus, who is the holiest person who ever lived.”
“He determined that there would be a COVID class of pastors, and in his wisdom, he stewarded this situation to the pastors that we have right now.”
“I want to be the best church member that I can be, or the lowest maintenance church member that I can be for my pastor.”
- Gospel-Driven Ministry: An Introduction to the Calling and Work of a Pastor
- Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto against the Status Quo
- Gospel-Driven Church: Uniting Church Growth Dreams with the Metrics of Grace
- The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-shift That Changes Everything
- Knowing God
Download a PDF transcript of this episode.