1) Pastors should identify the disciple-making that is already happening within their Church.
Disciples are being made in every church -the only question is “disciples of what?” Although not all of the discipleship is intentional or profitable, the good news for pastors is that they do not have to create the momentum –it already exists. The challenge is to identify it, embrace it and help direct it.
2) Pastors should intentionally spend time with key disciple-makers and help them develop intention in their disciple-making.
After identifying and embracing the disciple-making that is already taking place within a congregation, the pastor’s ability to provide guidance to the discipleship depends upon the pastor’s willingness to disciple the disciple-makers by intentionally investing in their lives. In short, the strength of a church’s discipleship is directly related to the amount of the pastor’s time invested in discipleship relations.
3) Pastors must foster a discipleship community within the congregation.
Every disciple and disciple-maker needs the support of other disciples and disciple-makers to continue mutual edification over a lifetime. This takes place within the discipleship community, which, ideally, is the local church. Pastors have the opportunity to foster this community and bring it to the forefront of every disciple’s awareness. This may take place by introducing disciples to one another through fellowship gatherings, small group studies, or personal introductions.
4) Solicit testimonies from the discipleship community to share with the entire body.
Pastors might share the value of discipleship and the discipleship community from with non-disciples through personal testimonies identifying the community within the local church. In this way, the discipleship community might also become a natural place for new disciples to enter a discipleship relationship.
5) Preach about discipleship, but more importantly, make disciples.
Sermons regarding discipleship are crucial. They make the congregation aware of the biblical mandate and example for discipleship. However, preaching is only as effective as the discipleship that accompanies it. It is one thing to preach about discipleship, it is quite another to make disciples. If a pastor desires for a congregation to become disciple-makers, he must first be a disciple-maker. In many cases, the temperature of discipleship within the congregation corresponds to the nature of the pastor’s practice of discipleship.