The name that goes hand-in-hand with pastor is under shepherd so the ideal of leading God’s people should be seen through the lenses of caring for and tending to the needs of God’s people. The ultimate example in all things regarding the church is our Head; the person Jesus Christ. Jesus lead by example and with a servant’s heart; doing even the lowest of servants’ jobs by washing the disciples’ feet. Based on Ephesians 4:11-13 (. . . and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.), the pastor’s main role is to equip the Christian to be able to feed themselves the Word of God and be able to reproduce themselves spiritually. This is where discipleship comes into the picture.
The ideal of discipleship is must deeper than most churches portray it. Discipleship is much more than sitting in a Sunday morning classroom and reading a lesson out of a booklet. It’s much more than reading the Bible daily. Discipleship is having a spiritually mature person walk along side of a new Christian and aiding them in their growth. The mature saint is there to help with questions and build a relationship with the new convert. The mature saint will hold the new convert accountable (through love) with the main purpose of them growing in the new walk with Christ. As a person grows in their relationship with Christ, the old (fresh) man weakens and the new (spirit) man grows stronger. Christianity is a relationship with God through the shed blood of Christ so as a new convert grows in their relationship, they will want to do what God wants them to do. The Bible talks about praying, fasting, serving, and the like so the new convert will get to the point where they will want to do these things because they are in love with their Creator and their King. I think where the church has got it wrong is after conversion a person might get a 4 to 6 week class on the basics and let loose; that’s not discipleship. Discipleship is walking beside a new convert as long as it takes for them to grow to maturity. The period will vary and really who matures completely this side of heaven. The idea is for that new convert to one day be the mature Christian walking beside another new convert aiding them in their new found faith.