The Disciple-Making Pastor. By Bill Hull. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1988. 250 pp. Cloth, $11.95.
In reviewing this excellent resource I am hard-pressed to keep from quoting the entire book. Pastor Bill Hull has written out of a pastor’s heart to today’s Christian leaders. To quote Dann Spader’s endorsement on the bookcover, “Every decade a few books are written which clearly define the critical issues, masterfully present the biblical truths, and radically challenge traditional approaches. The Disciple-Making Pastor is such a book!”
Do we need another book on discipling? In spite of an increasing number of discipleship resources, the statistics still shout loudly and clearly that the Church is failing to produce believers who understand and aggressively carry out their mission. “How could the 3,000 gathered for worship compose a great church,” asks Hull, “if only 7 percent were trained to witness and only 2 percent had introduced another to Christ?” In explaining the desperate need for multiplication he poses the question whether you would “rather have a million dollars today or a penny today, two cents tomorrow, and four cents the day after that, doubling daily for thirty days?” The fact is that if, as Christ did, I would disciple eleven others for three years and then each of us would disciple another eleven in the next three years, and if we continued to increase at that rate there would be 21,258,732 discipled believers at the end of twenty-one years. The unfortunate reality is that currently “it takes 1,000 Christians 365 days to introduce one person to Christ. At this rate, reaching the world is a fantasy” (p. 134).
I was most challenged by Hull’s chapter titled “The Role of a Disciple-Making Pastor.” In it he distinguishes a “Generic Pastor” from a Disciple-Making Pastor. He cuts through what he calls “the most common myth … that effective preaching leads to an effective ministry,” as he explains that the Disciple-Making Pastor is a Pastor/Teacher, not a Pastor/Teller. The Pastor/Tellers “talk to people about works of service, but they do not fulfill their God-given responsibility.” The Pastor/Teacher serves more as a coach/trainer. “Teaching means more than telling people what and telling them why. It progresses to showing them how, doing it with them, letting them do it, and deploying them into the harvest field” (p. 96).
The majority of the book deals with changing the traditional mindset concerning what a pastor does. The weak point of the book is in the area of the practical. But the author explains early on that the fuller explanation of how to make it work in the local church can be found in his first book, Jesus Christ, Disciplemaker. He does describe the process as being three-phased: (1) Come and See (telling them Why and What); (2) Come and Follow Me (showing them How and Doing it with them); and (3) Come and Be With Me (letting them Do it and Unleashing them).
As a pastor and former missionary, I found this book extremely challenging and motivating. I will be passing it on to many of my co-workers in the ministry. Everyone who is serious about serving the Lord should read it.
J. Daniel Small