Discipleship Produces Leadership

Last week you evaluated your people and determined where they stood as disciples. If you haven't done this, look back at previous post for more information.

Today, let's start with a question.

Is your discipleship program producing laborers & leaders?

Many churches offer Sunday School or Small Groups. People faithfully attend and learn. But in the end what is accomplised? A lot of information is given but little development occurs.

For a discipleship progam to be successful it should be intentional as it matures disciples and builds leaders and laborers.  

Right Intent - Wrong Question
I am a pastor of a small church. Recently, I met with the elders, and one raised a concern. He asked, “Where are we going to find more Sunday School teachers?”

No sooner did he ask that question than another asked, “And we’re not getting any younger. Where are we going to get some younger men to be elders?”

These questions were sincere, but they were the wrong questions. You don’t find Sunday School teachers. You don’t find elders. You train and equip people to become elders and teachers.

Look at Ephesians 4:11-12

"And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:"

God gave to the church gifted people for the purpose of equipping church workers. You, pastor, are one of those gifted people.

As a pastor, it is NOT your responsibility to do all the work. It is your responsibility to train and equip those who will do the work.

Thus, the ultimate evaluation of your discipleship program is whether or not it matures believers and identifies and develops laborers and leaders.

What the elders should have asked was, What are we doing to train and equip our future leaders?”

Scope & Sequence
In the school system, the education of young people is planned out. Administrators, teachers, textbook publishers all work together and map out the students' education track. They call this Scope & Sequence.

Think of it this way. Scope are the ideas, concepts, verses, books.....you want the students to cover. Sequence is the order the students acquire it.

Here are a few questions to help you think about this.
  1. What are the 4-5 things a new believer must learn?
  2. What must a believer learn or experience to be considered mature in their faith?
  3. How will you provide on-the-job training to potential laborers and leaders?

There's no reason to make it any more complicated than that. But please understand, until you are intentional in developing your laborers and leaders there will be little fruit within your discipleship program.

I want you to sit down and map out a simple Scope & Sequence for your discipleship program. Start with the three questions above.

When you're finished drop me an email with your Scope and Sequence included. I'll shoot back to you a few coaching questions. You can email me at Mark@CoachingChristianLeaders.com.

I look forward to hearing form you.


How to Move Your People On

As a believer, one of your greatest responsibilities is to build up other believers. God has called you to make disciples; to move believers along in their faith.

So how do you do that?

I think the first step is to know where they're at. 

One way to know this is to label them. There are many labels we can use, but I want to keep it simple, so here are four.

  1. Unbeliever
  2. New Believer
  3. Mature Believer
  4. Laborer or Leader

Let's try this out. 

Who is the first person you think of when you think of someone in your church?  Write their name down.

Now how would you label them using one of the above four labels?

Let's do it again. This time instead of thinking of a person and then labeling them, pick a label and then identify someone in your church that matches that label.

Really, for these labels to have any value it is important that you determine how you can move someone from one position to another.

Recently, I led a young man to Christ. We met after church. He had some great questions. I answered his questions, reviewed the gospel, and then he received Jesus. Now he is a New Believer.

I feel responsible for this young man. I need to help him mature in his faith. And once mature, he can become an important leader in the church.

What are the necessary steps to move someone on? I'll address them in a later post. But for now, start by labeling your people. Once labeled, you can begin the process of moving them on.

Here's a worksheet that will help you with the process of labeling. Just click the link and print it out. No email of required to download.

Click HERE for a worksheet to help with this project.

I'll talk with you soon,

Developing Leaders on the Mission Field

How do you develop trusted leaders to take the work forward - even in your absence? Adam Hussey shares his expertise in leadership development.

Today we sit down with Adam Hussey. Adam is a missionary with Action International. He and his wife Alei serve in the Philippines. Much of their work is centered around developing local church leaders. 

Also, Adam has some unique ideas on how missionaries can raise financial support in these tough times. 

Contact Info

The best way to contact Adam and to learn more about his work is to visit his website.  You will find Adam at www.actioninternational.org/missionary/hussey.  There you can email Adam and read more about his ministry.

Also, check out his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TeamFaithHopeLove

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for listening to Coaching Christian Leaders. You should subscribe to this podcast so that you’ll never miss an episode.

You can find this podcast in just about any podcast app. We are on Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Gaana, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, and now we are on Amazon Music. Check it out and make sure you subscribe.

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How to Develop a Personal Discipleship Plan

Michael Ward, the author of The Sixth Sola, shares his approach to personal discipleship.

Michael shares:

  • How he came to Christ
  • The other five solas
  • The purpose of the book
  • the intended readers
  • His view on other methods of personal discipleship
  • How preaching can be more effective
  • The reading plan
  • The Great Relationship versus the Great Commission
  • How this approach has impacted him 
  • If the Bible were a gym, what would be the exercises?


His Book: The Sixth Sola

His website: 6thsola.com

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for listening to Coaching Christian Leaders. You should subscribe to this podcast so that you’ll never miss an episode.

You can find this podcast in just about any podcast app. We are on Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Gaana, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, and now we are on Amazon Music. Check it out and make sure you subscribe.

This is Mark Jones and I will speak with you soon.

Please share this episode with others!

The First Leader You Must Train

Every pastor I've ever met wants to reach the lost and build disciples. I believe that’s you as well.

I know you want to see people saved and for your church members to grow in their love and understanding of Christ. That’s why you got into this work.

But now, after years of doing this work, you realize that it’s impossible to do it alone. You need help. You need others to come alongside and share the load.

In part, that’s why you are listening to me. That’s why you found this podcast. You want to learn how to identify, train, and release leaders into the work.

This is Mark Jones and I help pastors reach the lost, build disciples, and develop church leaders. Thanks for listening to Coaching Christian Leaders. If you want to know more about how I can help, then please visit www.CoachingChristianLeaders.com

In today’s episode, we are going to focus on the most important leader you must train. You must train this leader before all others. And a failure to do so will cause problems.

Who is that one leader you must give the priority to? It is yourself.

Over the past four leadership development episodes you have:

  • identified a leadership position to develop.
  • You have written a short job description.
  • I have asked you some questions with the hope of creating in you a sense of urgency.
  • And we have brought the Lord into our planning.

And today?

Today we are going to focus on ourselves. We are going to work on our own leadership skills.

Let me take a couple of minutes and tell you a bit about myself. My story will help you understand the value of personal leadership development.

For me, becoming a pastor is a second career. Before I was a pastor I was career military. I retired from the Air Force in 1995 and shortly after that went into full-time ministry.

The work I did in the Air Force – I was a Russian Linguist – had nothing to do with pastoring a church. So about one year before retirement I began to work on a Master of Divinity. Then about one year after retiring I went into ministry.

I tell you this because early in my ministry career I realized something.

Seminary did not prepare me to lead a church.

In general, Bible colleges and Seminaries do not train pastors to lead churches.

In seminary, I had only one class on pastoral leadership. All the other classes were on theology, Bible book studies, and language (Greek, and Hebrew). Those things are essential but they do not prepare you to lead a church.

Where did I learn how to lead? The leadership skills I possessed, in the beginning, came from my years in the Air Force. The rest I learned on the job and from speaking to other pastors.

And now I want to share with you what I have learned.

Over the next few episodes, we will work on personal leadership skills.

  1. You need to learn to read with intention.
  2. You need to work with a coach or a mentor who will challenge you.
  3. You need to surround yourself with a small group of peers and meet with them regularly.

Today we will focus on reading with intention.

One of the best ways to learn to lead is to read with intent.

If the internet is telling the truth, then CEOs read approximately 60 books a year. That’s five books per month.  You are the CEO of your church.

I know you already read to preach. Books that help you with message prep probably equal 2-3 books per month. So why not use the other 2-3 slots and read for leadership development?

About a year ago I came across an article by James Clear titled 7 Ways to Retain More of Every Book You Read. James Clear is the author of the book Atomic Habits. I’ll put a link to this article in the show notes.

But for the next few minutes, I will give you Mr. Clear’s seven points and put my spin on them.

  1. Quit More Books

You do not have to read a book cover to cover. If it is not bearing fruit stop reading it. Not every book is worth the investment of time. And often you can get what you need early and then move on.

Let me add this. If you want the information the book contains but find the book to be a drag to read, then buy a summary book.

Here’s what I mean. Say you want to read Jim Collin’s book Good to Great but you do not want to read 400 pages. Someone has written a summary book and it's on Amazon. Summary books give an overview of the major ideas, they give an analysis, and they are typically under 50 pages long.

You need to be reading more to improve your leadership skills but if the book does not click with you then quit it. And if you think the info is good but the read is overwhelming, see if someone has written a summary book.

  1. Choose Books You Can Use Instantly

You need to be reading on the subject you can instantly use.

Later I will recommend a few books you should read first. One of those is Paul Axtell’s book Meetings Matter. As I read that book, I began to use his ideas to change the church board meetings. It was exciting to see his ideas come to life in our meetings.

  1. Create Searchable Notes

This bit of advice improved my reading. Today I mainly buy Kindle books. Kindle books save me money. The cost of a Kindle book is much less than a print book. Plus, at the end of my pastor career, I am not stuck with 100’s of print books that I can’t get rid of.

But the main reason I read Kindle books is that I can search on my highlights and print my notes.

I use a free program called Kindle Mate to pull off and print these highlights. Mr. Clear recommends Evernote. Whichever, create searchable notes.

One more thing on this. If you really want to retain what you read, when you finish a book, print out your highlights, read over them, and then write down the ones that really resonate with you.

  1. Combine Knowledge Trees

You need to link or hook what you are reading to something you have already learned or experienced.

You do this when you read the Bible or commentaries. Your mind makes links to previous studies or message series.

When you read secular material you need to create similar links to previous material. But you will need to be intentional.

  1. Write a Short Summary

Mr. Clear gives a short outline on how to do this. He recommends you ask yourself these three questions: 1) What are the main ideas? 2) If I implemented one idea from this book right now which one would it be? 3) How would you describe the book to a friend.

  1. Surround the Topic

Mr. Clear means that we should pull in articles and other subject matter that speak to the topic of the book. But I want to give an alternate way to surround the topic. Try and get a few friends or congregational members to read the book along with you. Then meet to discuss it. Surround the topic of the book with their ideas and viewpoints.

  1. Read it Twice

Good advice but not every book is worth reading twice, but... those that are you should read over again. At the very least, you should read back over your highlights and notes.

Here they are one more time:

  1. Quit More Books
  2. Choose Books You Can Use Instantly
  3. Create Searchable Notes
  4. Combine Knowledge Trees
  5. Write a Short Summary
  6. Surround the Topic
  7. Read it Twice

So the first step in our personal leadership development is to read with intent. You need to be reading 2-3 leadership books per month.
In the next episode, I will give you some book titles that you need to read now to grow as a leader.

Some of those book titles are listed on my Resource Page found at CoachingChristianLeaders.com. So just pop over to CoachingChristianLeaders.com and look for the Resources tab.

Thanks for listening to Coaching Christian Leaders. You should subscribe to this podcast so that you’ll never miss an episode.

You can find this podcast in just about any podcast app. We are on Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Gaana, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, and now we are on Amazon Music. Check it out and make sure you subscribe.

This is Mark Jones and I will speak with you soon.

Please share this episode with others!