If I was a YOUNG Lead Pastor again … 3 things I’d do VERY differently. Part 3

Posted: May 6, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Men's DiscipleshipXSmallIn my first two posts I shared 2 things I’d do VERY differently: I’d not be so hung up on my biological age, and I’d delegate more.

There’s also a third thing I’d do — I’d make DISCIPLESHIP A BIGGER DEAL.

In my first few years in Jerusalem I devoted much of my time to one-on-one mentoring with potential leaders. The primary goal was to help equip them to become pastors and planters. By God’s grace a good number went on to become effective ministry leaders in Israel and beyond.

Eventually, our personalized leadership training morphed into Israel College of the Bible, which we planted in 1990. Today, the College operates under local Israeli indigenous leadership. ICB offers Bachelor’s and Master’s level programs. Over a thousand Israelis and internationals have studied in the College.

I’m thrilled how God enabled us to develop nation-wide leadership training. Yet, as I look back, I realize that I put too little effort into the basics of the GREAT commission: to “make disciples….” (Matthew 28:19)

Developing leaders is crucial, but it’s disciples from all ranks of life that are the salt and light that can penetrate most effectively into unreached corners. You see, leaders, especially pastors, tend to become so consumed with shepherding their own flock, that they lose touch with lost sheep outside their own fold.

Several years ago we made a mid-course correction; and now discipleship is on our front burner. Yes, I still meet one-on-one with burgeoning leaders and from time to time I still teach a leadership course in the College, but our ministry team is now fully engaged with making disciples who make disciples.

Currently, I’m writing a discipleship manual called, LIVING THE SPIRIT-EMPOWERED LIFE. Each week at our discipleship gathering we cover another chapter in the book. I plan to share some of these chapters in upcoming posts.

You may be curious about the method we use in our weekly discipleship gatherings. Men and women gather together as one large group for about 45 minutes of teaching. Then we break up into separate groups of 4-5 men and 4-5 women. There we talk about how we can apply what we’re learning, keep each other accountable, and pray for one another.

We’ve found that in single gender small groups we’re able to be more transparent — especially when we deal with sensitive issues.

We’ve not found the perfect method, but we’re carrying out the ABC’s of what our Master modeled and commanded us to follow.

Tell me about your experience. How were you discipled and how are you discipling others? I’d love to learn from you.

  1. Tammy Ragan says:

    Pastor Wayne, congratulations on so many years of effective service to our Lord! I think you are so right that we have to be and make disciples – all of us. Every believer should be growing and learning and bringing along other believers with him/her. We don’t have to know everything to lead someone else who may be one, two or more steps behind us. And, as we all learn and grow closer to God and cut the distractions of this world out of our lives, then we reflect more of Jesus and attract other non-believers to want what we have.

    Before I joined COTH 3 years ago, I went to a church for 15 years that initially promoted discipleship. So, my spiritual growth really began there in my 20s, and I eventually led small groups there. That church changed its focus several years ago to missions. That’s not a bad focus of course, but the discipleship focus suffered and because of my own personal circumstances (loss of my husband), I felt I had lost my place there and I didn’t seem to fit anywhere there. I found COTH, got involved right away in small groups, went through our LIFE (living in freedom everyday) ministry and began leading LIFE groups. In this LIFE ministry, I really see lives changed and so much growth take place. I love it and love helping plant this ministry in other churches through our GROW LIFE program.

    I look forward to seeing you, and the others at KOKC in Jerusalem again, and hopefully here if you make a visit to COTH. I’m hoping to serve at the GROW conference this year. Maybe you all can come. 🙂


    Tammy Ragan

    • Tammy, Great to get your input. We’re excited that another team from COTH heads our way in a few weeks. I’m so glad you found a great spiritual home! Thanks for your support and prayers.

  2. Liv Hicks says:

    Hi Wayne, I became a Christian outside of a church when I was 21 years old, and had to look for someone to teach me about Yeshua and the bible, I wanted to grow as a Christian. Two years after I became a believer and had tried several denominations and churches someone introduced me to the Navigators. Discipleship was Dawson Trotman’s goal for new believers. His idea and lifestyle was to have people live in Navigator homes and apartments. It held us accountable to one another. We had good times of working on projects together and living together with the emphasis of growing in Christ. I lived in two Nav apartments and one Nav home before I got married to a Navigator…smile. Discipleship really is important. I think most parents should do what the Navigators did, and I also think it’s good to live in community. Blessings, hope this helps. Liv Hicks

    • Liv, Thanks for sharing your experience. Knowing you well, I see how the Navigator model has been a huge benefit to your personal development and ministry. Keeping sharing your thoughts.

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