Discipleship is core to what we do as a church.
However, discipleship represents something much more than a program. Discipleship is something bigger than an institution that “organizes” a process for spiritual growth.
We are the church, and we are disciples!
That represents a significant challenge; how to organize something in the natural realm that inherently belongs in the supernatural realm.
This is a huge subject. And, I’d like to focus on a specific slice of the discipleship arena, centering on these three questions:
- How do you as the pastor live above the warning signs?
- How do you as the pastor personally fit into a process of discipleship?
- How do you as the pastor or church staff member, develop your spiritual vitality?
One “simple” answer is, “participate in a small group.” That’s good, and can work well, but it usually ends up with the pastor (or staff member) leading the group. So now the pastor is back to leading and organizing, which can lessen the personal spiritual impact.
Another solution is, “get in an accountability group.” That’s good too, but most often those groups are not designed to make intentional forward and measured progress. They are more open than structured, and usually designed to keep a check on what is happening in the present.
This reality can leave the pastor and staff of the church without an intentional spiritual growth process.
It’s often difficult to discern the level of your spiritual growth when you are professionally immersed in spiritually oriented church work.
The following are three warning signs of your personal spiritual vitality.
3 warning signs to pay attention to:
1) Past training begins to cover for lack of current freshness.
Putting a price tag on great training and experience is hard. They are truly invaluable.
But there is also a risk. That theological training and ministry experience you have as the spiritual leader may place you ahead of many in the congregation, much like a doctor knows more about medicine or a lawyer has studied the law.
However, if the doctor or lawyer relies on what they learned years ago, they will lack the necessary freshness of what is new in the field, and they can lose touch or even become irrelevant.
It’s true that scripture doesn’t change like medicine or law. But we change, culture changes, and we engage every person right where they’re at in the moment. In fact, scripture says about itself, “The word of God is alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12).
There is a certain “freshness” about what God is doing today that matters. Including in your personal spiritual life as a pastor.
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SOURCE: Church Leaders, Dan Reiland