Live the Jesus Lifestyle – Make Disciples

Leadership is Broken Because Leaders Are Unbroken

The most disobeyed directive Jesus ever gave is the last directive Jesus ever gave:  make disciples.  Nothing could be plainer than Jesus’ final marching orders: make disciples!  That’s what He said, that’s what He meant.

Yet all over the world we find pastors, churches, deacons, elders and church members who are radically disobedient. Some are ignorant, others are willful, but many are disobedient nonetheless.

Pastors give in to tradition and the demands of their people and choose to disobey Jesus’ final command.  Many seem to think that ministry is about making them successful or keeping their job secure, which they confuse—often unconsciously and sincerely—with obeying Jesus.  Or they give in to their fellow pastors and measure themselves by their standards rather than live the Jesus lifestyle.

Deacons and elders often have no idea that Jesus’ lifestyle is about making disciples.  They think running the church by managing the budget as tightly as they can and fixing the leaky roof when they must is their job.  Many don’t even know they’re disobeying Jesus because no one told them what His final words mean for them.

Church members often think the church exists for them, it’s their church, and without their money it could not exist.  They built it, so they should control it, it should stay the way they want, and if it dies with them, so be it.  In some parts of the world, more than a few feel that it’s the unbelievers’ fault they don’t know Jesus.  “After all,’ they say, “We’re here every Sunday.  They know where we are.  If they want to hear the Gospel they can hear it from our pulpit every week.”  They make demands of their pastors and accept no one else when they have a need.

Many pastors, deacons, elders, and church members all seem to think that the church is their church, designed to meet their needs, and distressingly few take Jesus seriously when He says, “I will build my church.”  The church is His church responsible to fulfill His purposes in the world.  After all, it is Christ’s body.

What an amazing reality.  The church with all its wrinkles and spots, led by leaders seeking to find their identity in what they do, not in Who they know, populated by people striving for control to get what they want, is Christ’s body commissioned to accomplish Christ’s aims in the world!

But what else could the church be except a disciple making body?  When Jesus called us—pastors, deacons, elders, and people—to follow Him, what else could that mean but to make disciples?  After all, that’s what He did, isn’t it?  To follow Jesus is to live a Jesus lifestyle.  It’s to make disciples.

Remember this, though: only broken leaders can disciple whole people.

From "Live the Jesus Lifestyle – Make Disciples " on Broken Leadership Blog is about changing the leadership conversation from what we are doing with our hands to what God is doing through our hearts.


Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he served full-time for twenty-four years (1981-2005). During this time he also was the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership for twelve years.

One Comment

  • David Austin


    Bill, great post and I completely agree. This is why I am leading a new project at  to develop a mobile friendly disciple making app that focuses on doing it not just information about discipleship.