Imagine a church with 100 ministers, and only two of them have been to Bible college. Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho, is now a mega-church, but they started out as a church plant with 10 members. But every step of the way, they discipled their members so intentionally, that they have all the ministers that they need.
Gene Jacobs is one such church member turned minister. He is a former Navy sailor who later built cell phone towers. After accepting Christ, he became a member of a small group, then a small group leader, then a community pastor, executive church staff, and is now a church planter.
My parents are involved in a church that lost their pastor not too long ago. Their church immediately put together a Pastor Search Team and started evaluating resumes. Now, I grew up in that church, so I poked some fun at Dad, “Have you not discipled a leader out of your church to step into the pastoral role?” Poking right back, Dad said, “Well, Mark, we’d have to totally change everything we’re doing in discipleship training for that to happen.” To which I said, “And?” He knew what I meant.
Willow Creek Church in Chicago learned as reported in Reveal, that they were doing a great job winning people to faith in Christ, growing them a bit, but keeping them in classes in a constant learning environment rather than discipling their members toward leadership. It was no wonder the long-time church members expressed being a bit bored with Christianity – and church.
Some churches keep their best members practicing and practicing and never put them in the game. Willow Creek stifled their members into frustrated benchwarmers. Real Life Ministries found a feeder-system that worked for them and ignited growth among their members. What would work for your church?
Curtis Sergeant, a missiologist, has said two powerful things:
1. The resources are in the harvest. (It could be that your next pastor isn't even saved yet.)
2. If you wait until you need leaders to train them, then it's too late.
If you count up all the available seats in every New Testament church in your county, I am sure that there would not be enough seats to bring in every lost person, even for two services every Sunday. And what a legacy for a pastor to grow their own replacement capable of rightly dividing the Word of Truth! Let’s use God’s Word to win the lost, nurture them in the admonition of the Lord, and grow your own leaders. Please look carefully at participating in the Associational and State training events. (See CABA's Calendar
.) These are geared to be highly reproducible to help you "grow your own" leaders to the glory of God.
CABA Director of Missional Leadership