Ready for the Discipleship Journey


I once spoke with a pastor who had just attended a conference with his staff on discipleship. He was highly motivated, so he approached me for advice. “After this week, I need to do something,” he said. “I have eight of my pastors with me, and we need to go home and come up with something to impact our congregation. What do you suggest?”

I waited for about thirty seconds before answering. Then I told him to wait a bit more while I thought and prayed about his situation. After several minutes, I answered him. “Nothing,” I said. “Don’t start any programs, don’t make announcements, and don’t do anything public.”

He seemed puzzled and confused. “What do you mean, Bill? Do nothing at all?”

I explained, “You should go home, get around a table with your eight pastors, and ask them to go with you on a personal journey of discipleship for one full year. Then if you think your desire is real and that you truly have something to offer the church, invite others to join you on the journey.”

I said this because I knew that journeying with his eight pastors would require patience, self-discipline, restraint, vulnerability, submission, grace, trust, confession, and a great deal of bonding. This year-long activity would be an act of courage as well, because in the eyes of most people, it would not look like they were doing much. It would just be eight people, not some flashy new program or event to sign up hundreds.

But this is where we start and “make our bones” as a disciple-making pastor. It’s the hard thing we must do to find out if we are really in to disciple-making for the long haul. Start small. Disciple a few. And you will reveal the state of your soul as you open your life up to others. You will be exposed in ways you otherwise would have never been on display. In my experience, most pastors just aren’t ready for this.

Follow Bill Hull on Twitter here and Facebook here

This excerpt has been adapted from Conversion and Discipleship.

Image credit: Unsplash.