First, let's get this straight: Training future pastors or church leaders--and even training those who are already pastors--through bible schools, seminaries, and seminars is NOT God's way. They got these ideas from the world. The Jesus way is through a genuine Jesus discipleship alone. The authentic Jesus discipleship is the only correct way of training and equipping God's servants and genuine church leaders, especially pastors. Only the Jesus Discipleship will produce the Glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle or any other blemish and which is recognized in heaven. No more, no less. All others are garbage
The authentic Jesus discipleship is what we see in the bible. Period. It's exactly how Jesus did it, solidly backed by Old testament truths and Kingdom principles, followed up by teachings in the Acts church, which formalized spiritual fathering in the Kingdom. Well, discipleship and fathering are actually Old Testament derivatives placed on a higher level in the New Testament with the introduction of the indwelling presence of Jesus in a believer through the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament is rich in the teachings on discipleship and fathering.
Didn't Jesus Say Not to Call Anyone Your Father?
Jesus did say that. But Paul also did say Timothy and Titus were his sons in faith, and that he was the father in faith of the church in Corinth (1 Cor.4.15). And Jesus personally revealed himself to Paul--which means fathering is Jesus' teaching. What Jesus said about not calling anyone on earth "father" was within the context of Pharisaicalism. Fathering is not possible in a Pharisaical system, like what denominations have. Most denominations change pastors every so often. Fathering or the Jesus discipleship gives you disciplers or fathers in faith FOR LIFE.
Disciplers for Life
Jesus's disciples were HIS disciples from beginning to end--even today. Peter, James, John, and the rest are still known as Jesus' disciples. When Jesus left, they never had a new "pastor" to shepherd them. Jesus' disciples were still called Jesus' disciples even when the Master was already dead or had gone to the kingdom. Thus, your status in a true Jesus Discipleship remains and goes on till death. For instance, because the pastor should be the top discipler of a church, he is to remain thus until death--no one, except his wife, should replace or succeed him. He is one flesh with his wife, so the wife can carry on the discipleship. After the wife, if no biological offspring are possible successors, the church is then distributed to the spiritual sons who have their own church ministries.
If the church has a board, the pastor should disciple them all his life. They should treat the pastor-discipler as their father-in-faith for life. They have no business other than obeying and supporting the pastor and his wife. His wife is the local church's mother-in-faith.
The pastor's sons and daughters in faith should start their own ministries as the Holy Spirit leads them to, in God's own time. When they have started their ministries--and when the pastor dies--the rest of the church who are not spiritual sons and daughters of the pastor can opt to attend the church of a son or daughter of the pastor that suits their spirits, according to how their are led by the Spirit (the son or daughters are not to take over the pastor's ministry). Hence, the spiritual sons and daughters of the pastor should already be starting their own ministries from the time they "graduate" spiritually from being disciples of the pastor to being sons and daughters. They continue to connect with the pastor's wife and honor her with their tithe of the tithes and offering--because the mother-in-faith is one flesh with the pastor, their main discipler.
Those who are not yet promoted by God to have their own ministries should remain attending their mother-in-faith's Word sessions. If the spiritual mother dies, the junior disciples are given freedom to choose who to follow among the pastor's senior disciples or sons and daughters who are already doing their own ministries.
If the pastor and his wife dies and their children are still too young to start any ministry, they should be temporarily discipled by any of the pastor's senior disciples or sons and daughters until they grow up in Christ and are able to start their own ministries. They should be discipled faithfully in the wisdom that God had given to their parents. Their biological parents remain to be their spiritual parents.
Each Church Member a Disciple--and Would-be Discipler
The goal is to "make disciples of all nation." That's the only goal of the Jesus church. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything revolves around Jesus and his command to make disciples--Word sessions, fellowship, worship and prayer, evangelism, missions, church business, etc. Thus, "members" should all be disciples. In fact, the term church "member" as local denominational churches use it today is not biblical. There should only be Jesus disciples in church, no "members" as denominations have them today.
For instance, worship and prayer are nothing if not done in a genuine Jesus discipleship. There should be oneness or agreement to enjoy God's presence. That oneness or unity is not possible except in a genuine Jesus discipleship. The same with fellowship, and so on.
So, there are twin goals--(1) to make disciples, and (2) to turn them into disciplers. All by God's grace and Word, and the Spirit's power. Each Jesus disciple aims to be a discipler one day soon--to have and hold his own cell group comprising his own Jesus disciples. A discipler can hold as many as 12 to 24 Jesus disciplers---depending on the leading of the Holy Spirit. But often, it is enough to have 12. The vital thing is NOT the number of disciples but the quality--how well the Jesus disciples are discipled man-to-man.
The Right Ministry Mindset
In other words, it's not how to grow the ministry, but how to obey God. A lot of church pastors are absorbed with how to grow their churches. They look for growth formulas. They look for what works and what's effective. This is wrong. The right mindset is to see what God wants in His Word and obey Him. Period. Then God adds growth in whatever forms He sees fit--numerically, spiritually, or both. Remember, numerical growth does not mean superiority over those churches that remain small in a genuine Jesus Discipleship.
How It Starts
It all starts with a heart desperate to seek God and obey His Word. Obey His Word to seek how Christ may be formed in you. Do this and God promises to add all other things unto you., even ministry growth.
1. Fervent Prayer. It all starts with a fervent prayer--expressing to God your ardent desire to obey Him, like obeying His command to disciple people. No, you don't sit down and plan and pray for your plans. You don't do house-to-house visitations or crusades or concerts or invite neighbors to your bible studies or prayer meetings. Jesus never did those things. Neither did the Acts church. You simply sit down in a quiet place--better in the wee hours of the night or morning--just be alone with God, and pour out your desire to glorify and obey Him, and have disciples after God's own heart. I prayed for some 3 years (or more) before God gave me my disciples. I did nothing but pray and wait.
2. You Wait. Then you wait upon the Lord. This renews your strength and makes you soar up with wings like eagles. This purifies the heart and settles anything else that God sees needful to settle in your spiritual life--like hidden immaturity impatience, hidden sins, pride, anger, etc. Often, God does not give you true Jesus disciples yet because your weak spirit and immaturity stand in the way. You may feel okay and equipped with infos and techniques on and experience in evangelism and discipleship. You may be so gifted and talented and smart--but these are all garbage if your character is rotten. Just wait. As you wait, meditate deeply on the Word daily, day and night, and pray and worship. In my case, it took me years.
If you become impatient and quit waiting for God and do it in your own efforts, you will have your disciples, sure, even have a mega church--but you will only transfer your rotten spirit and character to them, and they in turn to their future disciples. And you will be a big rotten church. Outwardly, people will admire you for having many members or "disciples" and lots of activities and programs. You will seem to be a growing church. But in the Spirit, you have nothing but garbage. Waiting is important.
3. Continue With Your Discipler. As you wait to have disciples--or as you disciple your disciples--make sure to stay connected with your discipler. No matter if he or she is far away---do everything to regularly connect---through email, letters, call, or visit. Especially, connect in the Spirit. Well, if he or she is just around, regularly attend his or her Word sessions.
4. Aim for Fathering. The goal of a Jesus discipleship is to mature into a fathering church. Your relationship grows and blossoms into a fathering--your discipler becomes a father in faith and you become a son in faith. Soon, you also become a father in faith to your disciples, who become your sons and daughters in faith. A father in faith can turn into an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher. A father in faith must continue to stay connected with his father in faith--till death.
5. Listen to the Spirit of God. Jesus, after a vigil of prayer, went down the mountain and called his apostles personally. As you wait and pray and worship, God will tell you what to do. Be sensitive to His leading. He may point to persons whom you would personally call to discipleship. Jesus called them once and that was it. He never visited them often and pestered them until they joined him--which is what denominations do. In addition, as you wait and listen to the leading of God's Spirit, make it a lifestyle to share the Gospel with other people through your life, character, and conversations. Look for someone to share your faith with. Don't wait to see if it's God's will to share the Gospel because Jesus has already said it in Scriptures. Just do it. Once you have shared the Gospel, leave everything to the Holy Spirit. He alone convicts and convinces and follows up. If you do His work, you may get good results, but it will all be rotten in the end. The Israelites collected manna in the desert in their own efforts, without heeding God's ways, and they indeed got lots of manna, but which only turned into maggots later.
That Seems A Stupid way of Starting A Ministry
People tell me the above processes would take long and are too risky. Besides, it sounds stupid. Just wait? What if nothing happens all your life because all you did was waste time waiting? What if no people come to you? What if takes you 10 or 20 years? And what about the perishing souls out there while you wait for your ministry to happen? They need to hear the Gospel NOW and you need to do something!
Well, Jesus waited some 18 years from age 12 before he began ministry. He didn't worry about souls going to hell in-between 12 and 30 years old. Moses waited till he was 80--"wasting" 40 years in pagan territory--before he went back for the Jews in Egypt. They didn't begin anything till the Father told them so.
If no one comes to you, then you're not (yet) a discipler. Spend some more time with your discipler. Probably you still need to change some things in you. Eagerly pray to be a discipler soon. And about the "perishing souls," don''t worry about them. You are not their savior. That's God's problem. What's worth worrying are souls who are pastored by pastors or church leaders who are still in the domain of the devil--with rotten characters and mindsets. The Pharisees traveled over seas to convert a soul, only to turn him twice a son of hell as they were. Jesus denounced that fact.
Doing everything according to how Jesus and the Acts church did it produces saints with the Jesus DNA. That’s God’s flesh.
When I started ministry again in 2004--using Jesus' genuine methods--it seemed like nothing would happen. I was tempted to quit and just go back to man's usual or traditional way of doing ministry. But I held on and waited and soared with the Spirit until people literally went to me and begged me to disciple them! Praise my Jesus!
(to be continued)