2. Have a Strategic Plan for Relational Discipleship
The primary means of caring for your congregation comes through the ministry of the Word (Acts 20:31; Titus 1:9; Ephesians 4:11). And the ministry of the Word occurs in formal and informal settings. Many pastors don’t realize that what they do during the week is just as important as what they do on Sundays. And too often, the pastoral life is defined by Sunday’s performance rather than day-to-day caring for souls. Certainly there is a place for formal instruction like sermons and courses, but there must also be informal instruction occurring through relational discipleship. While all Christians are called to admonish one another (Colossians 3:16), those who are pastors are to be especially gifted for teaching and ministering among the church body.
Relational discipleship requires time and intentionality. This is the type of discipleship that happens, as Chris Wright says, in ordinary conversation, in ordinary homes, in ordinary life, from breakfast to bedtime. Pastors, be careful not to ignore this vital aspect of ministry. Set aside time to spend with the people God has called you to lead and serve. Don’t just set time aside, intentionally block off hours in your calendar for relational discipleship. The summer weather allows various venues for organic, informal discipleship. Find a few men to meet at the park and walk with while discussing theology and life. Organize biweekly cookouts at your home where you invite different couples over to hear about their journey with Christ. Invite a group of men to meet you for breakfast once a week to discuss a Bible study and pray for one another. The options are endless, and so are the benefits.