Pastors Don’t Know HOW to Make Disciples

One of the reasons that many pastors don’t personally disciple anyone is that they don’t know HOW to make disciples. That’s what one of my friends suggested to me in a recent email.

He writes,
One of my concerns is that pastors are not personally and intentionally involved in making disciples.
One reason I believe is because they were never discipled themselves and they just don’t know how to do it.
I have heard some say they are fearful and thus never try. It’s not that they can’t preach a sermon or lead a small group, but they do not know the steps to take with someone who they lead to the Lord (or who is a new believer) and the process to take them through in one on one discipleship encounter.
For example how do they start? What do they do and cover in the first time they meet, the second time etc? what resources to use, what books to recommend for them.

Disciplemaking starts with non-disciples. The process begins in the context of relationship with non-Christians. When a person starts to follow Jesus, a Christian friend should help them learn and understand how to follow Jesus fully and become a disciplemaker. Pastors need to not only be doing this, but helping everyone in their church family to be doing this!

Robert Coleman in
The Master Plan of Evangelism emphasizes this need for a Christian friend to “stay with the new believer as much as possible, studying the Bible and praying together, all the while answering questions, clarifying truth, and seeking together to help others….The only way they can be trained is by giving them a leader to follow.” Pastors need to lead the way by doing this first!

What do you think?

Do you agree that pastors don’t know HOW to make disciples?

What process do you use to make disciples who make disciples?

Today’s Missional Challenge

Consider where you will start in helping a new follower of Jesus to embrace the cross, experience community, and engage the culture with the gospel.

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Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer, author and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. With 30+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches.
5 replies
  1. PaulB Thomas
    PaulB Thomas says:

    Hi Dave, thanks for a fab blog. I love the challenging question on this blog. My thoughts on this are Pastors know how to make disciples but they dont understand conversion!

    If folks wers saved in the book of Acts because they understood the apostles doctrine ie acts 2:38,42 why it is that we then as preachers dont preach Acts 238 salvation as doctrine. Instead most of the chuch ignores salvation in acts and preaches Romans 10:9. Which was written 25 years after Acts?

    The solution preach Acts 2:38 the results Acts 2:42.

    What do you think?


  2. carlou2
    carlou2 says:

    I think that pastors know how to make disciples, they just aren't doing it. There is usually a lack of follow up with a new believer whether it is due to laziness or whaatever. Maybe you're right in saying that they were never mentored, but I have a hard time believing someone came to be a pastor without the encouragement and accountability of someone along the way.

  3. Unknown
    Unknown says:

    I think it might be true that some pastors don't know how to disciple someone. But a lot of it might be that they are afraid or lazy or have just never thought about it.

  4. davitagruber
    davitagruber says:

    I agree with Carla, I think that they do know how to disciple people, but some may feel too overwhelmed to set aside time for others. But I do know pastors who disciple people but perhaps it just doesn't happen to often.

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