All of the links below will take you to consecutive chapters of a book by David Servant entitled The Disciple-Making Minister. Although written primarily for ministers, The Disciple-Making Minister can benefit anyone who desires to serve in the body of Christ. The second two chapters deal primarily with the subject of house churches, and would be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more on that subject.
Over the past twenty-five years, I’ve had the privilege of traveling to over forty nations of the world to speak to tens of thousands of ministers at three- to five-day conferences. Those conferences have been attended by dedicated Christian leaders from many different denominations and streams within the body of Christ. Every trip has confirmed that three- to five-day conferences are simply not sufficient to meet the needs that exist. So much more needs to be done to equip Christian leaders, and this book is an effort to fill the gap a little bit more.
I’ve also had the privilege of experiencing twenty-or-so years of pastoring churches. Although I was “successful” by some measurements, much of the time I found myself struggling because I lacked understanding of some very foundational principles of biblical ministry. I consequently have a deep concern for the millions of sincere ministers who are missing what I missed and who need to be better equipped for the task set before them. Some of the principles of which I lacked understanding are so significant that once they are understood, they set the course of ministry for the rest of a minister’s life. They become the standard by which every aspect of ministry is measured. Those principles are found in the initial chapters and should not be overlooked by any reader, as all later chapters are practically useless without their foundation.
This book has particular application to pastors, as they are certainly the most common Christian leaders. But everything I’ve written also applies to evangelists, teachers, missionaries, church planters, Sunday-school teachers, and so on. There isn’t anyone in the body of Christ who couldn’t benefit from reading this book, because every member of the body of Christ has been graced with a God-given function.
I’ve written primarily to ministers who live outside of the United States, Western Europe and Australia/New Zealand. This is not to say, however, that what I’ve written has no application to ministers in those parts of the world. Indeed, I think what I’ve written could help them considerably, but few seem to be interested in listening. In any case, depending on your knowledge, experience and nation of ministry, you will find certain chapters more helpful than others. Chinese pastors, for example, will find the chapter on house churches to contain very little that they don’t already know. Yet pastors who are unfamiliar with the house church model should find that chapter extremely helpful.
It is highly unlikely that every reader will agree with everything I’ve written on every topic in the book. Don’t let that stop you from learning something from every chapter.
As Jesus taught us, no one puts new wine into old wineskins, otherwise the stiff and inflexible old wineskins burst. It is only new wineskins that are flexible enough to withstand the pressure of fermenting new wine. Although some of what I’ve written might be considered to be new wine, it is actually wine that is quite old—at least as old as the New Testament. So any bursting of old wineskins is not the fault of the wine poured from the pages that follow! Jesus rejoiced that God reveals His truth to babes and hides it from “the wise and intelligent” (Matt. 11:25). Likewise, God gives grace to the humble, but He resists the proud (see Jas. 4:6). Thank God for the multitudes of humble Christian leaders all over the world. May God bless them as they read.
– David Servant
Chapter 1: Setting the Right Goal Unless a minister sets the right God-given goal, he is destined to fail from the start. God has given the same general goal to every minister, and that is to make disciples who obey all of Christ’s commands.
Chapter 2: Beginning Rightly Christ expected new believers to immediately be His disciples. This stands in contrast to the modern practice of trying to persuade “believers” to commit themselves to Christ and become His disciples, which only results in frustration for ministers. This chapter shows how to begin rightly.
Chapter 3: Continuing Properly The biblical and modern cultural role of the pastor are compared in this chapter. According to Scripture, what does a minister need in terms of education and facilities to successfully make disciples?
Chapter 4: House Churches House churches are a biblical alternative to institutional churches with buildings, and they have many advantages for making disciples as Christ commanded.
Chapter 5: Church Growth There are right and wrong ways to grow your church, and there are limitations to church growth that this chapter addresses. Are you building with wood, hay and straw, or with gold, silver and precious gems?
Chapter 6: The Ministry of Teaching Many ministers are unwittingly undoing their own teaching by their own example. This chapters takes a look at the disciple-making minister’s goals, motives, methods, audience and subject matter as it relates to his teaching.
Chapter 7: Biblical Interpretation To be effective, a minister must be able to interpret scripture rightly. This chapter considers the three most important rules of Bible interpretation and offers many examples of the application and misapplication of those rules.
Chapter 8: The Sermon on the Mount This chapter is offered as an example of how to teach by exposition (verse by verse) and to help disciple-making ministers teach their disciples to obey all of Christ’s commandments, many of which are found in the Sermon on the Mount. According to what Jesus said repeatedly in this sermon, only the holy will inherit God’s kingdom.
Chapter 9: Jesus’ Favorite Preacher Jesus’ favorite preacher was not a Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Anglican or Roman Catholic. He was a Baptist! Discover why he was Jesus’ favorite and how you can imitate him.
Chapter 10: The New Birth Jesus said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3). What did He mean? How can one be born again? What happens when someone is born again?
Chapter 11: The Baptism in the Holy Spirit Scripture teaches that being baptized in the Holy Spirit is an experience that is subsequent to being born of the Spirit. It is when God empowers us to be His witnesses. How is this baptism received? What does speaking in other tongues have to do with this?
Chapter 12: Women in Ministry Can women be leaders in the body of Christ? Can they teach or preach the gospel? Can they serve as pastors? In this chapter, David considers a wealth of scriptures that bring needed balance to this controversial topic.