Common Excuses That Hinder Discipleship in Your Church: Inexperience

Last week we started a series going through some of the common excuses we hear from pastors about spending their time investing in people personally. It can seem a little odd that this is an area of pushback from pastors, but when we break the excuses down one by one, it starts to make more sense.

As we mentioned in last week’s post, the most common excuse we hear is that there simply isn’t enough time. Today, we’re going to dive into a more vulnerable excuse; One that you might not be willing to share out loud with other people.

I’ve never been discipled before.

I’m a bit more sympathetic to this excuse because the unfortunate realization is that most pastors don’t disciple men because they have never been discipled themselves. Most have grown up in low-investment/highly programmed churches, led by low-investment/highly programmed pastors. Programs and production get celebrated. Life investment gets ignored. It is important, but not urgent, therefore it never gets done.

Let me ask you, are you going to let the failures of others be your excuse for failing to do the one thing Jesus commanded you to do? While you may have never been discipled by another person, you know more about how to follow Jesus and share your faith than 99.9% of the people in your congregation. Plus, you have the Spirit of God in you. You are more than qualified to invest in another man.

When I got started, I hadn’t been formally discipled. But when I look back over my life, I see that God had put people in my life that influenced me toward Jesus in powerful ways. My guess is that you have people like that, too–people God used to build you up and help you walk with Him. So, while you may not have been formally discipled, you are prepared and competent to invest in others. This is why making disciples requires great faith!

Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” The essence of faith is trusting God to act according to His promises. So think about it this way, if Jesus commanded you to go make disciples, and if he promised that he would be with you “even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), then don’t you think you can trust him to work through you?

You can let excuses hold you back or you can take a leap of faith and trust God to work through you to impact the life of another person. Trust God. And if you feel incompetent or unsure of how to invest in another person, then find someone experienced and let them be a coach for you. Look around for people who are passionate about making disciples and ask if you can meet with them. Ask questions. Get tips and insights. Find solutions to problems. Read great books and blogs. Go to conferences. The resources are available, and the Spirit is ready. God will use you powerfully if you just take a step of faith. He can do more through you than you think He can!

For this one, there’s good news. Our entire ministry is built on helping churches and ministries build a culture based on discipleship. We believe that experiencing discipleship is an important step in creating that culture. Through our books, we can provide you with the framework needed to get started. Throughout the year, we host our discipleFIRST Cohorts, an opportunity for church leaders to experience discipleship with other like-minded pastors. One of the most popular resources we have is the Hub, a digital resource for church and ministry leaders to equip their team.

This week, take a moment to identify a resource that you can go through with your team. A video series, a conference, or even a book—we have several, including Bold Moves, our foundational book that helps teams get started with moving their church’s culture towards disciple-making. Invite your team to be a part of this movement together.

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