So, my last blog post stirred up a lot more response than I expected.
In The Biggest Mistake Teaching Pastors Tend to Make – And How To Correct It, I encouraged pastors to move from being a teaching pastor to an equipping pastor, based on the Pastoral Prime Mandate of Ephesians 4:11-12.
But what I didn’t do, as pointed out by several readers, was give any ideas of how to do that – which was simply due to the limitations of time and space. That’s a lot of ground to cover in a short blog post.
To remedy that, here are a handful of previous posts that give you a few “how to’s”, (which I have also added to the end of the previous post).
- The Best Way To Avoid Pastor Burnout? Equip The Saints
- Mentoring Is Better than Curriculum: Seven Steps to Better Discipleship
- Five Simple Steps to Mentor New Believers (Without Overworking the Pastor)
And now, in today’s post I’ll lay out a simple (you might say simplistic – and you’d be right) breakdown of four essential elements we must do to move from being a teaching pastor to an equipping pastor.
This list is not exhaustive. That can’t be done in a single article, or even a single book, for that matter. But they can serve as a starting line for those who want to move beyond teaching into discipling.
The Difference Between Teaching And Discipling
Teaching requires two things: a competent instructor and receptive students.
Equipping and discipling require much more.
The difference can be seen in the ways Jesus addressed a crowd, compared to how he addressed his disciples. The New Testament says he taught, scolded and had compassion on crowds (Mark 10:1, Luke 11:29, Matt 9:36). But with the disciples, he did much more.
To start getting a handle on what it means to become a disciple/equipper, here are a few essentials we see Jesus doing with his disciples:
1. An intentional relationship
Teaching can happen from an anonymous source to an anonymous recipient. For instance, most of the people who read this blog post are unknown to me, and I am unknown to you. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from each other, but we can’t really disciple each other.
Discipleship requires a relationship because equipping the saints is far more than downloading information, it’s a willing surrender of a person’s life for the growth of their character and behavior.