Discipleship and Ministry

August 21, 2009 — 9 Comments

I’ve been spending some time lately reflecting on my ministry and the coming season.  As my role has continued to change and our church has continued to grow, the pressures have changed and my time is increasingly spoken for. In addition, it seems like there is always a person or a task that needs immediate attention.

The ministry of Jesus and Paul have been speaking wisdom to me lately in the difference between discipleship and ministry.  Although both men spent copious amounts of time ministering to both the masses and individuals alike, they never departed from a focused investment in a small group of men.  I am noticing in myself the ease with which I get lost in ministry–the crowds crowd out my discipleship.

The conclusion for me has been, at bare minimum, I need to be investing in a small group of people on a weekly basis, and inviting those individuals more frequently into my life and  ministry.  The commitment to discipling a group, and not simply leading several ministries, provides for me accountability, as well as a continued perspective to the challenges our body faces in pursuing the vision God has given us.

God’s word to me has been this: don’t let ministry replace discipleship–it’s the road to failure.

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

9 responses to Discipleship and Ministry

  1. That last line is the kicker for me. So true! A great reminder.

  2. Bro, this was necessary and timely for me. Thank you.

  3. Have you ever read “The Master Plan of Evangelism” or “Born to Reprduce”? They’re pretty popular reads, but they’ve profoundly shaped how I do discipleship.

    If you disciple one person next year, and at the start of the next year, both of you disciple just one new person each for the entire next year, and at the start of the next year the four of you all disciple just one person each, etc…then the whole world will be committed followers of Christ in 30 years. Crazy, eh?

    • Mike,
      Thanks for the comment! The Master Plan of Evangelism is pretty much THE methodology I hope to approach ministry by, and I can only hope to remain faithful to the calling to reproduce faithful men. It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of succumbing to ministry because it is pressing and often gives visible results. The process of discipleship is slow, but the fruit is enduring and multiplying, and I pray that God continues to sear that into my heart. Thanks for your ministry!
      Todd

  4. Hey Todd,

    I saw this today, and I immediately thought of you. Here’s another good book on missional churches (or so it seems):

    http://theologica.blogspot.com/2009/08/deep-church-diverse-blurbs.html

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