by Craig Etheredge
Welcome back to our series on common excuses that can hinder discipleship in your church! If you’ve missed it, we’re on week four of our series breaking down some of the most common excuses we hear from church leaders that might actually be hindering your discipleship goals within your church.
In part one, we talked about how our schedules are usually the first excuse we fall back on. “I just don’t have time,” is the most common excuse we hear. But we have power and control over our schedules. We decide what we can make time for, and intentional discipleship should be one of the things we prioritize as church leaders.
In part two, we shared a more vulnerable excuse. Sometimes, the reason we hesitate to disciple someone directly and in person is that we haven’t experienced that ourselves. However, the great thing about this is that God can work through that inexperience in ways we never imagined. Your inexperience is an opportunity for you to trust God to fill the areas where you fall short.
Last week, we discussed the question, “Is preaching enough to sustain the discipleship of my church?” The answer is no. Jesus spent part of His time teaching and part of His time intentionally seeking out people to disciple. As church leaders, we should be doing the same.
This week, we’re going to talk about another excuse that pastors use frequently.
“It’s not my personality or passion.”
Some leaders just dismiss disciple making because it’s not what they like to do or not what they feel wired to do. Some guys are just introverts and really don’t like to be around people. Other guys are more passionate about preaching, leading, vision casting, counseling, or personal evangelism.
But just because you don’t think disciple making fits your personality or passion doesn’t excuse you from faithfully discharging the ministry God has placed in your hands to make disciples.
Paul told Timothy, “Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching … be soberminded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:2, 5). Most pastors read “preach the word” and stop there, envisioning great sermons flowing out of their pulpits with people hanging on their every word. Certainly, we are called to preach God’s Word faithfully.
But Paul goes on to say that we are to “reprove, rebuke, exhort” with all the patience the Spirit can give us. That doesn’t just happen in a one-way preaching context, that happens after the preaching is over and you are face to face with people. The best place for reproving and rebuking is in the context of a disciple-making relationship when you have their heart and their trust. Paul closes with a charge to “fulfill your ministry.”
Jesus clearly told us our ministry objective … to make disciples of all nations. So, a failure to invest in people and train them to do the same would be a failure to fulfill the ministry given to you by Christ.
What steps will you take to fulfill the ministry given to you by Jesus?
This post is an excerpt from the book “Bold Moves.” Used with permission.