Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing his reflections and practical insights as a ministry leader on Greenelines, a new podcast. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.


wooden-bridge-large-posterDietrich Bonhoeffer’s book The Cost of Discipleship is a classic. It powerfully describes Christ’s call for men to “come and die” in order to be His disciple.

In as many times as I have discussed that book with friends, I’ve never thought about an equally important concept—until now. Since a true disciple of Christ will become a disciple-maker of others (after all, that is Christlike), we must also consider the cost of disciple-making.

Initially, we may think the cost is time and energy. Certainly this is true. Disciple-making is a commitment to open up your life to another person. It’s an act of service that requires long hours, late-night calls, inconvenient conversations and out-of-the way trips.

But the cost of disciple-making doesn’t stop there. In fact, time and energy are actually just the beginning of the cost.

The real difficulty of disciple-making comes from the nature of the task: helping a fellow redeemed sinner grow in Christ. Read that last sentence again. It implies (biblically) that every believer, while on this earth, is still growing. We still make mistakes, act selfishly, rebel against God and hurt those who care for us.

Disciple-makers must accept the fact that there will be times when they will be hurt, let down, taken for granted and used.  This is where we must realize that we are like a bridge—laying down our lives for the good of others. And like any good bridge, we will be walked all over.

But don’t let that discourage you. In fact, let it encourage you. Why? Because in laying down your life for others, you are being Christ-like toward them (1 John 3:16).

That’s why Scripture calls us to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2), “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (Eph. 4:32), “bear with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2), to “teach and admonish one another in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16) and “exhort one another every day” (Heb. 3:13).

Those aren’t words to pass over lightly. Exhorting, rebuking, forgiving, bearing and admonishing are all painfully difficult. And at the same time, when done in Christ's strength, they are incredibly joyful. Why? Because there is nothing greater than identifying with Christ in His sufferings—especially when those sufferings produce disciples (3 John 1:4).

So, before you venture off into disciple-making, take a moment to count the costs. Just be sure to count them in light of the immense joy found in identifying with Christ—the master disciple-maker.

After serving in campus ministry at the University of Central Arkansas and coordinating student conferences for the Department of Church Ministries from 2000-2005, Scott Attebery pastored Wyatt Baptist Church in El Dorado, Ark. After seven years of pastoring, Scott was selected as the executive director of DiscipleGuide Church Reources, a department of the Baptist Missionary Association of America. You can read his blog at ScottAttebery.com.

For the original article, visit scottattebery.com.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • Don't bring your sermons in for a crash landing.

    4 Terrible Ways to Close a Sermon

    People need an opportunity to respond to the Word of God.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders