Some friends of ours were just visiting and talking about their search for a new pastor. This is not a particular new venture these days as pastors seem to bailing left and right on their congregations. I find this a sad thing. I have always wondered why a pastor would leave before there was another shepherd to take his place. I am not sure why that is. I do understand there are times when pastors must step down for various reasons, but it also seems in reality, to be a lack of good shepherds these days. Why is that? Some blame seminaries. I am not so sure.
For me, I think it is a matter of sowing and reaping. For many pastors, the art of discipleship has been missing on their radar. We as pastors often do not keep in front of us the need to reproduce in others what God has done in us. Here is where we are reaping what we have sown. One would think that making disciples would be an obvious thing to do coming out of the Great Commission in Matthew to “make disciples,” but somehow it gets overlooked. You see, discipleship is time intensive–and what pastor has time to spend on one person? Discipleship is dirty–you have to get your hands in sin sometimes and the web of sin is often hard to untangle. Discipleship is also individual. It cannot properly be accomplished in a class, or through a lecture. Christ was very good at making disciples–but not everyone “got it.” Crowds followed him, but only a very few were genuine disciples. However, these men “got it” and they began to make disciples and the ministry of the gospel flourished. Paul “got it” in 2 Tim 2:2 when he explains the proper way disciples are made: give yourselves to others who will in turn give themselves to others. Good men reproduce good men. This is goes back to Genesis where God commanded His creation to reproduce “after their kind.” Certainly a pastor who loves shepherding people because the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ has shepherded him, can then in turn shepherd and disciple another pastor, can’t he?
I love church planting, but there is such a need for godly men who will give themselves to discipleship who will then shepherd God’s people. Who will take the time? Who will take the interest? Who will fill the spots that are open across this nation and shepherd people to a greater understanding of the Great Shepherd? I say, “Lord, here am I, send me!”