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Chris- I agree, but will you define this: "Under A Trained Pastor". Rick Warren is trained, but we know he isn't qualified to disciple cause his methods don't line up with scripture.
Who does the training? What training place do you recommend a 'trained pastor' come from?
How will you know they are "gifted as pastors from the Spirit" instead of just "trained"?
Everyone is talking "disciple"
and has turned it into a fad instead of the biblical one as Paul who poured and lived his life walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh, so Timothy could be showed by Paul's example to live according to the way Paul had discipled him. Discipling doesn't happen in a class only or through a program or just from the pulpit...it comes from the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit from one believer to another while doing the "one to another's" of life and fellowship in Spirit and Truth. Any thoughts on this?


Right-- that's why Chris qualified the "trained pastor" bit with the "tenacious devotion to the teaching of the apostles." The pastor should be learning under those with a good understanding of God's Word as it has come down to us, called to serve a gathering of Christ's church.

Perhaps he was emphasizing the "trained" pastor as opposed to the "I feel the Spirit telling me I ought to be a pastor even though I have absolutely no grasp of God's Word whatsoever except what I think it means to me" approach.


I agree a believer that is gifted as a pastor from the Holy Spirit should have a "tenacious devotion to the teaching of the apostles."
That is what we are all called to do, every one of the "Called Out Ones". Then those same "Church", automatically (because of the Holy Spirit) go and proclaim the Good News, then the ones GOD saves (not those who "make decisions"), we are to make disciples by teaching them to "OBEY"...that is primarly what is missing in the 'discipleship' fad. Most think it takes place in the pews on Sunday from the pulpit. Paul the apostle, the most busy, evangelist, overseer, pastor, missionary,
teacher, writer, lover of souls for Christ alone...had time to LIVE a HOLY LIFE in front of Timothy, a young man saved under Paul's evangelism. Today, most "Pastors" sit in there high backed chairs with degrees hanging on their walls and don't disciple anyone. The "church" secretary screens the calls that could hinder him from his work. The very same ones just can't see that Paul didn't do those things. They had paper and libraries in those days, big temples, massive works of art...but Paul wasn't distracted from the "calling" with those things...he was on the street and in jails DOING the great commission and actually discipling the saved. Everyone wants to close the "building" at 12:00 noon, go home, relax and watch sports all day, Hollywood at night and think they have earned it cause they graduated from the "bible school", got a "position" with a capital "P" title.
I didn't say all. I know Chris isn't advocating for this!
...but this 'discipleship' has to be defined as an "action" driven by those with the Spirit not a "program' from the next marketing program from a mega/giga "church" guru to make some money from.
Matthew 7:22-23 (King James Version)

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
My writing isn't disagreeing with Chris...I'm just adding to it!


Also...the types that "feel the Spirit telling me I ought to be a pastor even though I have absolutely no grasp of God's Word" are enamered with the "position" and TITLE, and the SALARY, benefits, "Corporate Car", "parsonage" allowance, and tax deductions. The ones with the Holy Spirit should be discipled to know the difference from that "look and lifestyle" as opposed to one of the most used by GOD, men like PAUL.


The Yeast From a Small Group Study Lead by Un-Trained Lay-People Who Pool Their Biblical Ignorance by Asking the Question, “What Does This Verse Mean to You?”

I have seen from previous posts about your opposition to small group based studies.
Do you suggest that we should do away with the small group system? or if you are advocating change, what do you think should be implemented?



So are we supposed to just let the "well trained pastor" take care of everything? I thought that we are all called as "disciples" of Christ. Shouldn't disciples of Christ be able to begat other disciples?

Just wondering.


The verse from Acts that Chris quoted doesn't say that the pastor is the only one aiding people in the discipling process. Who's suggesting that the pastor takes care of everything? Rather, the proclamation of the Word in the congregation and the teaching of it is specifically the pastor's duty and responsibility. Disciples beget disciples, but the Great Commission says they are made by baptizing and teaching, which are largely pastoral actions. If a layperson shares the gospel with someone and they have faith, so much the better. They still need to be baptized and taught, which happens in the church.

Brent makes some good points about how people are discipled throughout the week as we live out our spirituality. We are all called to admonish one another and encourage each other in the faith, speaking God's Word and living our lives.

I've been in exactly those small group studies where the teacher proceeded into a rant about what that verse meant to him, completely missing the point of the passage and misunderstanding and misappropriating the words used by the writer. I think that none of us really want *that* happening. To fully understand a dislike of how small groups tend to operate, you have to look at when small groups really started springing up in the modern sense of the idea, and the theology and reasons behind their initial implementation.

Chris Rosebrough


The word I used is "under". I did not say that the Pastor does it all. Nor is that even what I am defending.

Fact is, I am not ordained and yet I teach the adult Sunday school class at my church. But, I do it UNDER our pastor. If I teach something wrong then he will correct it.

It is ultimately my Pastor's responsibility to feed and protect that portion of the Lord's flock that is under his care but in NO WAY does that mean that he is the ONLY one doing the work of discipleship at our church.

I find it sad that in the short 30 years that the mega-church movement has taken hold in this country that Christians have completely lost the concept of pastor as shepherd. They are used to the ideas of Pastor as CEO, Pastor as Cattle Rancher and Pastor as Life Coach. But the idea of Pastor as Shepherd is now very foreign.



Oh..I agree to a point...I have also been to a few "studies" where they got off on a tangent about what a certain scripture "means to them".
But I do not agree that ONLY a trained pastor can disciple. Because according to scripture we are all to study to show ourselves approved, we are all to preach the word...so on and so forth.
As for the argument about small groups...well...that is a whole 'nother issue. To do that we would have to look at the New Testament version of "church".


p.s. and yes Chris...it is me. (that was funny by the way)


or was that Joe? Had to have been one of you pranksters.

Sorry for the sidetrack!


Chris...you are very right about how we have a very skewed view of what a pastor is....heck for that matter...some in Christiandom have a skewed view of who and what God is.



I listened to the KFUO segment on "Willow Creek's failure to meet the spiritual needs of its members."

I couldn't agree more with Chris's analysis. My husband and I grew up in Bible based Lutheran churches back in the 50's and 60's. We studied Luther's catechism, heard the law and Gospel on Sundays and received the sacraments. However, about 15 years ago we started to attend a mega church in the suburb where we live. The church (which has Lutheran in its name) began to transition to a "Willow creek" style worship. This happened very gradually (Like the frog in the pot of hot water).

The pastors stopped wearing their vestments on Sundays. Then the church ended all reference to the liturgical calendar on the Sunday bullentins. The organist was eventually replaced with a "worship band." The sermons became "non offensive" flummery that conveyed little of substance. At a certain point, the traditional hymns were dropped completely. During lent, the pastor preached from "a purpose drive church" every Sunday morning. We attempted to share our concerns with several staff members but did not get anywhere.

We finally got to a point where we left and located a small Lutheran church (missouri synod) in our area. This church had beautiful liturgical worship including the sacraments. However, after a period of time we noticed that there was no law or gospel in the preaching and members of the church would share viewpoints on a variety of issues that let us know this was a very liberal church (i.e. "homosexuals make such excellent parents").

We left that church and are now at a Free Lutheran Church where we do indeed hear the law and gospel preached from an excellent pastor. The only problem is the music. There is no regular organist and the worship is contemporary. The "hymns" consists of shallow one liners repeated ad nauseum by a worship leader who strums the guitar with the beating of drums in the background.

I realize that there is "no perfect" church and we will most likely remain in this church.

However, I believe our spiritual journey to not be that unusual.

This is a sad state of affairs for the evangelical church in America today.


Jimmy... again, you're saying, "But I do not agree that ONLY a trained pastor can disciple," and again, I point you to the fact that no one is saying that ONLY a pastor is involved in discipling.

And it's not true that every Christian is called to "preach" and to "study to show themselves as a workman approved," etc. Those admonitions are given to pastors in the Scriptures. Of course, we ARE all to study God's Word, to be discerning, and to share the Gospel with others. But like Chris said, we are under shepherds. He has a point how church today is like a bunch of unqualified shepherds in a field with no sheep.


"Generous Scoops of Songs That Have Little or No Doctrinal Content"

As a worship leader, I come across this issue from time to time, where I have no idea what the song is actually saying from a scriptural standpoint. And these are some of the most common songs sung in churches today!

But these days, when I see churches doing blatantly secular songs in service, I can see the people being led off a cliff. I used to joke about churches doing AC/DC songs for worship, but now I realize it is not a joke.

God bless your ministry.



Back in the days of the early church, the disciples, the followers of Jesus, had a great deal of credibility. God would perform miracles and utter prophetic words that would come to pass, using the disciples. Today’s Christian church leaders have no such giftings so they seek and attain financial wealth for that is the way they attempt to garner respect from the world in general. Christian leaders, pastors, televangelists,radio stations, and book writers are building their own little kingdoms, measuring their spirituality by the size of their perspective audiences. They fly (usually first class) around the world attending, “conferences” , dine at finer restaurants, and live in very comfortable, oft times very expensive homes, and in the case of one mega Christian church leader in Texas, a mansion with servants!
In spite of all this and more, the Christian leaders of today have zero credibility in the Kingdom of God, and with true seekers of eternal life and the gospel of truth. If you examine with me the life and attitude of the early disciples of Christ, you will find vast differences between them and the Christian pastors and evangelists today.
Today, becoming a “pastor” is a joke. The only requirement is that you go to an accredited, licensed school and get a piece of paper from man that states you are now a minister. Quite different from the true calling written about in the bible. Men of God prayed and sought divine guidance over the choosing of a pastor or any other office of the church. The Holy Spirit would confirm the appointment to those led by the same spirit. Also, a true biblical pastor has the responsibilities of teaching a small group of disciples the Truth of God’s word, thereby equipping them to spread that same good news to a lost world. Vastly different is today’s pastor and Christian leader, using their titles to lift themselves up in some fashion or another. Having that silly document signed by yet another false teacher in no way gives a person credibility in the Kingdom of God, and is only a facade in the world.
The old adage: you are only as good as your teacher stands strong here. Thus, you encounter multitudes of professed “Christians” who have no credibility in your sight. The reason, is that their leaders have none in the sight of our Maker. Once they stepped outside of God’s design for His church, they lost their God given anointing and confidence which comes from above. What a shame to see so many seekers turned away from the Truth as modern day pastors and evangelists strive to garner a following, not for God, but unto themselves. So often they are very gifted orators, often actually rehearsing their sermons as if in a play. Because of the talent displayed when speaking behind a pulpit, people often mistake that for an anointing from God. Then, when the same minister is caught in adultery, or stealing or whatever, the same people are devastated, many times leaving the organized gathering in disgust. That is because they followed man and not God. Today’s Christian leaders are not accountable to anyone but the regular tithers. They base their spirituality on the visual things and not the matters of the heart God speaks of. They write books, seek after lofty positions in church, go to school to attain higher “Christian” degrees and titles, start a television show, “Christian radio ministry” is one of the worst fallacies, Christian broadcasting does absolutely nothing to further the Kingdom of God, but they love your donations! Or they open a website on the internet with all the answers, so they say. It all amounts to nothing in the lives of those seeking real truth. Also, without fail somewhere along the way in every one of these so called “ministries” there will be a mention of giving money, however cleverly masked.
The only place you will find the answers is in the word of God. The only way you will find it is to study it yourselves. The only way you will understand it is to have the Holy Spirit to teach you. The only way to have Him is if the one true Christ sent from the Father sends Him to live in you. The only way to experience that is to ask Him. The way to do that is totally up to you, and between you and God. You have no need of a pastor or church group to show you the way. Do not let anyone deceive you with their twisted teachings. Topical studies, those that clip various scriptures from around the bible and paste them together are not of God. They are designed by Christian leaders whose background is in psychology and sales & marketing. If you want to know God by no means should you ask a modern day Christian. Get a version of the bible that isn’t twisted by bible scholars interpretations, and pray and ask God yourself

(to be continued)

Excerpt from the book “Spiritual Reality” by B. E. Elias

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