The Dodo, of course, is well known for two things: being ugly and being extinct. Discipleship where you invest long-term in a few relationships seems to have gone the way of the Dodo.
On Scot McKnight’s blog, he posted a poll on what top ten things pastors like about their calling. I list them here with the comment I posted over at Scot’s Jesus Creed:
- Seeing lives transformed.
- Preaching. Frankly, I expected this response to be number one, but it was a distant second. Preaching is very important to these pastors, but transformed lives are the most important. Of course, some of them noted that preaching transforms lives.
- Personal evangelism. Though distant to number one, sharing the gospel one-on-one was a clear number three. Here is a fascinating facet of this study to me: Over 85 percent of the pastors named one of these first three as their response. The next eight were named by less than 15 percent of the pastors.
- The people/members.
- Developing new relationships.
- Ministering in the community.
- Ministering to members.
- Casting a vision.
- Staff relationships.
- Mentoring or discipling one-on-one. (Study by Thom Rainer)
As a former full-time pastor and now itinerant, I find it disheartening (if this poll is any real indication) that discipleship is tenth and no comment made about that changing lives.
My own interaction with many pastors does reflect what the poll is saying. Few pastors seem interested in the non sexy work of long-term discipleship. Thankfully, I know some notable exceptions to what may be the general rule.