How Pastors Can Build Church Structure for Disciple Making

Inspired by discipleFIRST

From our recent podcast interview with Craig Etheredge, the Lead Pastor at First Collierville and leader of discipleFIRST, I gained insight about how a pastor can create a church structure that supports disciple making.

The problem is that many churches are not set up to facilitate disciple making in an organized way. It’s random, haphazard discipleship. So the question for pastors is, “How do they create a church structure for disciple making?”

 

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It’s not a new sermon series

Craig Etheredge said it well in his episode for The Disciple Maker’s Podcast:

“You start small. You don’t start off preaching a seven-week series about all the changes that are going to happen and not begin to do it. I think the best thing for a pastor to do is to just commit to being a disciple maker personally. Then, pick a tool to use. After that, look for a few guys (two or three) into whom he can invest his life and to whom the Holy Spirit will lead him. Begin to do that and encourage those disciples to do the same.

“Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like leaven that works through the whole batch of dough: It’s quiet, it’s silent, and yet it permeates the dough (Matt 13:33).”

It’s the pastor’s vision and life

CE: “I think the best way for a pastor to lead a church to be a disciple making church is for him to have the vision, for him to see how Jesus made disciples that made disciples, and then for him to begin to do it – not from the platform, but in the coffee shop. Then, as he begins to develop disciples that are making disciples that make disciples, then it can begin to morph into some structures that facilitate it for greater strength and greater growth. I think starting off with programs and with sermons about it is not necessarily the way to go.”

“It starts with a person.”

DiscipleFIRST Ministries is on mission “to multiply disciple making churches locally and globally.” Craig Etheredge says, “Our goal is to champion, empower, and train churches to be disciple making churches.”

So how can pastors build a church structure that supports making disciples? Start small and grow slowly. It’s kind of like leaven. The key point in “slow” is that by going at a solid pace, you will be able to take people with you, instead of running too far ahead. Once you’ve seen some fruit from your personal disciple making efforts, it’s time to expand into structured methods for your church. That’s when it gets exciting.

Written by Chad Harrington

Image credit: Shutterstock

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