Make Disciplemakers, Not Pastors

It’s Not About Making More Pastors

Jesus told us to make disciples. But as a pastor, it’s easy to interpret that as “replicate yourself.” But God hasn’t called everyone to be a pastor—to spend their entire work week dedicated to the church. God calls the majority of His people to be disciplemakers at work. In this video produced by Made to Flourish, Mark Dever, Greg Forster, and Tim Keller challenge pastors to equip their people to live out their faith not just at church, but at work, too.

In this first video, Mark Dever, Senior Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, issues the challenge to re-think discipleship. It’s not about getting people to come to church more often. It’s all about equipping them to live out the Christian faith from nine to five. 

Mark points out that Christians don’t serve God only at church. He’s called us to serve Him in every sphere of our lives with every moment of our day. As a pastor, your responsibility isn’t to equip believers to serve God better at church, but to honor and glorify Him well with the rest of their week. 

If you’re honest with yourself, where is the primary focus of your ministry to your congregation? On their church lives? On their work lives?
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How would you describe the discipleship efforts of your church? What are you asking your people to participate in?
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How would a focus on equipping your congregation to work for the glory of God affect your preaching? What about your church programming?
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Pastors aren’t called to make more pastors. Christians aren’t supposed to stay cloistered in the four walls of the sanctuary. God has called us to go out into the world for His name’s sake. And as a pastor, He’s gifted and called you to equip His people to work for His glory. 

Church for Discipleship’s Sake

Christianity won’t be what God wants it to be if it stays in the church on Sunday. God designed the church to equip people to be disciplemakers in the everyday world. Greg Forster, the Director of the Oikonomia Network, challenges pastors to rethink church. Church isn’t a provider of religious goods and services. It’s a training ground for the rest of the week. 

Greg points out that most people spend their lives working. As a pastor, it’s important to make faith part of a congregation’s work week. Otherwise, Christianity becomes a “leisure time” activity and nothing more. But when the church is actually preparing people to live out the gospel in their work, not only will people grow in holistic discipleship, but they will also grow as culture-changers. 

How do you see your church working to disciple people to live out their faith at work?
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What’s the primary discipleship force of your church ministry? A pull inward to more church involvement? Or a push outward to disciplemaking in the workplace?
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What does your church do specifically to equip people to live out their faith at work for the glory of God?
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Church is a training ground for believers. It’s the place where pastors and teachers equip God’s people to do the work of of discipleship in the course of the week. As a pastor, God has called you to be a maker of disciples who will then go and make disciples. 

A Mistake Anyone Can Make

Tim Keller is the Founding Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, and author of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God. Despite the success of his ministry in New York City, Tim admits that he neglected discipling his congregation in living their faith at work. As you watch this video, look for what changed his perspective. 

Tim realized that, despite his training and ministry, he was neglecting a significant part of his congregation’s lives. By not equipping his people to live out their faith at work, he missed the biggest part of their lives. 

Tim said he never held a job in the secular world—he went right into ministry. What is your experience in the work force? Have you worked in the secular world? How has that informed how you teach people in your church?
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Pastors tend to disciple people by bringing them more into the church, but most people live their lives at work and home. Where have you asked your people to minister most? In church programs? Or in their “outside” lives? Why?
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We want believers to be Christians everywhere—not just at church. What is one thing you can do this week to challenge your congregation to live their faith out in every sphere of their lives?
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The church is important. Sunday morning is important. But the point of gathering together for teaching and worship is to prepare for ministry throughout the rest of the week. As a pastor, your people look to you to teach and lead them. Take the opportunity God has given you and use your ministry to prepare and equip your congregation to live out their faith well in their work, their homes, and even in their vacation. Disciple your people's whole life. 

To find out more about the ministry of Made to Flourish, or to find out how to become a part of their pastors' network, click here.