Monday, January 16, 2012

I have a passion for both evangelism and discipleship. In fact, I have always argued that they are two sides of the same coin. The lack of discipleship within many churches has been one of the number one reasons that churches are no longer growing and/or declining.

I read the article Who's Raising Up Future Pastors, and I tell you, it really got my attention and as you read it, I sure hope it gets your attention as well.

Raising up Future Pastors
by Wade Brown

In a time when pastors are leaving the ministry at a very rapid rate, here's a question in which every church needs to engage: Who will the next generation of pastors be? More importantly, who will shoulder the majority of the responsibility in helping to equip young men to serve as pastors?

Hopefully, the church will rise to this challenge. It certainly did 2,000 years ago. Paul and Barnabas were sent out by the local church (Acts 13:1-3). In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul exhorts Timothy, the pastor at Ephesus, to entrust biblical truths and principles to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

While Bible colleges and seminaries do a good job of further preparing pastors through the content heavy curricula of church history, systematic theology, the languages and other topics, we shouldn't expect them to identify and ultimately raise up pastors. That responsibility rests with the Church. How can you, in your role as a pastor, help set that tone?

First, pray that God will help you to remain faithful to biblical teaching and your disciple-making efforts.

Second, pray that God will help you identify those young men who He has already called into the pastorate.

Third, prayerfully consider starting an internship ministry for these young men—a place where they can process their calling out loud and, along with others, be more fully equipped for ministry.

Finally, find time to hang out with these young men. Allow them to ask questions about what's stirring in their hearts concerning their calling. Encourage them to share their fears and their excitement. In time, give them opportunities to serve, to teach, to preach. In doing so, you are helping to prepare the next generation of pastors.

I am a pastor today ultimately by God's grace. Though, I know He used my church of 20 years ago, and especially the pastor of that church to help me (and many others) to discern and embrace His calling on my life to pursue the pastorate. While it has been a bumpy ride at times, I'm grateful for my calling and for the church that helped equip me and sent me out!

Enjoy the journey!
Wade Brown Image
Wade Brown
Director, Church and Community Care
Focus on the Family