Who Are The Equippers Of Discipleship?

Pastors are the equippers of discipleship because they are God’s choice servants to lead the local church to fulfill its purpose. Their job is to equip believers to service for the edification of the church until the church is spiritually mature and built up in love.

Pastors Are The Equippers Of Discipleship In The Local Church

  • Who: Who does God choose to lead and set the example for others to follow? God has not only given different spiritual gifts to all believers but He has also given special-gifted men to lead the church. Today, the “pastors and teachers” are the gifted men God is using to lead local churches. We also refer to this as “the office of a pastor”—but this office of leadership includes both responsibilities and gifting of pastoring or shepherding and teaching. These pastors are to lead the church in submission to the leadership of Jesus who is the Great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. There may also be “multiple pastors” or “plurality of elders” within a church, but this man is the lead pastor who has the main responsibility for spiritually leading a specific local church. Thus, the pastor is God’s choice servant to lead the local church to fulfill its purpose. (Note: we use the word “pastor” to be the same as “elder,” “bishop,” and “overseer”.)
    Ephesians 4:11; (Jesus as Supreme: Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Peter 2:25; Pastor’s Obligation: Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Titus 1:5-9; Apostles and Prophets were foundational, but have ceased for today: Ephesians 2:20)
  • Why: Why does God use pastors to lead? The answer is threefold: (1) “For the perfecting of the saints”—this means the pastor is to equip all the believers under his care to fulfill the purpose they were ordained for; (2) “for the work of the ministry”—believers were ordained to walk in good works and to serve—every believer is a minister; (3) “for the edifying of the body of Christ”—as each believer fulfills their duty of service, it builds up the church. Thus, a pastor’s job is to equip believers to service for the edification of the church.
    Ephesians 2:10; 4:12

Pastors Are Primarily And Continually To Be Training Disciples

  • When: When is the pastor’s task completed? The pastor is to carry out his job “till we all come”: (1) “in the unity of the faith”—the believers under his care should harmoniously become one or unified in the gospel and the revealed will of God in the Scriptures because of his teaching and training in sound doctrine; (2) “of the knowledge of the Son of God”—to grow in the knowledge of Jesus and have deeper and more personal relationship with Him; (3) “unto a perfect man”—to spiritually mature in Christ; (4) “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”—this maturity should be measured by the how much we are like Jesus. God wants us to become like Jesus in every area of our lives. Thus, the pastor is to equip believers to serve for the edification of the church until the church is spiritually mature.
    Ephesians 4:13; (Psalm 133:1; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 3:8-12; Colossians 1:9-10; 28-29; 2:2)
    • What: What does a spiritual mature person look like? A spiritually mature person is no longer a “child” spiritually—meaning they no longer do spiritually immature things. They are no longer easily deceived because they have a firm grasp on the Scriptures and the correct understanding and application of them. They won’t be spiritually tricked, taken advantage of, deceived by false teachers or their teachings. Thus, a spiritually mature person is able to brave “the waves and the wind” of false teaching without being overtaken by either, but instead firmly stands on the truth.
      Ephesians 4:14; (1 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1-3; Jude 3-4; Revelation 2:2)
    • How: How does the pastor lead? How does a spiritually mature person live? The answer for both questions is one word: love. The pastors speaks “the truth in love” so that everyone will grow up in every way into Jesus—which is the head, even Christ. Then the spiritually mature person takes the truth and applies it to start ministering in the body of Christ and when each part is working properly, it results in growing the body and builds itself up in love. Thus, a pastor leads through faithfully teaching the truth in love and the believers serve in love.
      Ephesians 4:15-16; (Ephesians 4:20-24; 5:1-2; Colossians 2:19; John 15:9-10)

Principles Concerning Pastors And Discipleship

  • Pastors are the spiritual coaches in the local church. Pastors equipping believers to service for the edification of the church, is like coaches training their basketball teams to win the championship. Thus, like a coach, a pastor doesn’t do all the serving and ministry within the local church, but he trains the church members to do it. The church members are not just the fans sitting in the stands watching the game being played, but they are the athletes playing the game while the coach is instructing them from the sidelines. When they aren’t playing the game, he is training them in practice—which often includes doing many hard things they don’t necessarily want to do, but must do to be able to be ready to play and win.
  • Pastors are the equippers of discipleship because God has called them to be the leaders of the local churches. The local churches’ mission is the great commission—to make disciples of all nations. The method to fulfill the great commission is discipleship—the life-on-life process where disciples spread the gospel to other people who become disciples and then they help them to become fully mature and serving believers of Jesus.
  • Pastors have more duties than just discipleship, but they use every other aspect of their pastoral duties to help train their disciples. Jesus had many ways that He served and taught people, but it seemed that in almost everything He did, He did it with the secondary purpose of training His disciples.
    Luke 8:49-9:6
  • Pastors are to train leaders of leaders. Not only does the pastor have the responsibility to be the example to the flock, but he has the responsibility to train others who can train others. Thus, like Jesus, He can’t spend large amounts of time with everyone, but with a few, who will then also minister to the larger group.
  • Pastors are more than just preachers and preaching is only a part of training disciples. Faithfully preaching the word of God is nonnegotiable to being a pastor, but discipleship is paramount for establishing spiritually healthy churches.
    Mark 1:38
  • Pastors train disciples through life-on-life training. They share with their disciples not only the gospel of God but also their souls. They are glad to spend and be spent for them.
    2 Corinthians 12:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

Review Questions

  • Who does God choose to lead and set the example for others to follow?
  • Why does God use pastors to lead?
  • When is the pastor’s task completed?
  • How does the pastor lead?
  • What are some principles concerning pastors and discipleship?

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