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Most of us feel the time crunch. When we look at the calendar and schedule for the week it can be overwhelming. Sermons to prepare, counseling sessions, emails, hospital visits, and meetings to attend. The end is never in sight. It’s true, there is always more to do. It is also true that you are only one man. But allow me to submit that simple obedience to the basic commands of Jesus relieves much of this pressure that we feel. We often carry burdens I don’t believe we were ever meant to carry. 

You know, I’ve met a lot of pastors who consistently say the same thing: “I don’t have enough time. I wish I could clone myself. I need help.” I think all those things are true, and the solution is right there in front of us in the Great Commission. If you are feeling the time crunch, try to answer these three questions every week. 

  • Where are your men? 
  • When will you get together with them this week? 
  • What will you do to help them take the next step toward becoming the disciple-maker God intends for them to be? 

My challenge to all of us is to commit to making disciples because that is how we create time. When you commit to discipling another person as the leader of a ministry, every time someone reaches a certain level, they’re able to come alongside you, freeing up time and increasing the amount of ministry that can be accomplished at the same time. You have another person who can invest in others, someone else who can shepherd, someone to share the load. 

I truly believe that there is a limit to how many people one pastor can shepherd without investing in other under-shepherds. Alone, we’ll never do the job as God intended for it to be done. We must continually come back to our purpose. This is the congregation that God has given me to shepherd. This is the group of people I serve. This group has all the resources we need to glorify God and be his ambassadors here where He has planted us. So, who here is God calling, who has God gifted to do the work of a shepherd, a teacher, a preacher, an evangelist? How can I come alongside them and equip them to carry out the great commission? How can I spend intentional, relational time with them? What are their next steps and how can I encourage them to take those next steps? 

Now, I understand it does take time out of your schedule, and that’s a real issue.  But our priorities must be in line with God’s priorities. Jesus had great work to do, and He consistently focused on training a handful of men, preparing them for the next steps. And I’m sure He could have had a full schedule and planned all kinds of meetings and spent valuable time planning and budgeting and working on all the details for the church to come. But He didn’t do that. Although He could have, He chose to spend His time investing in a few key people who would then take His message, His church, into the future. 

I feel like we would benefit in leadership if we had the same vision. It’s not what can I accomplish while I am a leader, but who can I develop while God has me in a place where I have this responsibility and opportunity to develop them. If you spend that time and that opportunity and invest in those men, then you’re investing in a ministry that goes far beyond your own time in leadership. 

As a disciple-maker, your influence goes beyond your time in a pulpit, in a long ministry, and even in this lifetime. You are investing in a ministry that goes on into and has ramifications for eternity. 

Ultimately there are no other options for us. We must make disciples who will follow Jesus with their heart, soul, mind, and strength and will invest in others, walking alongside them as they do the same. So, I ask again.  

  • Where are your men?  
  • When will you get together with them this week?  
  • What will you do to help them take the next step toward becoming the disciple-maker that God intends for them to be? 

Norman is an Alabama native who spent far too much time in school before God led him and his wife, Susan, to Japan with ABWE. Three kids and 20 years later the Smiths returned to the U.S. to care for Susan’s mother. God is graciously allowing Norman to use some of the many lessons from international disciple-making and church planting to serve the church in America with EveryEthne and the WARBC in Wisconsin. When not involved in more important things, Norman busies himself with writing and working on the Run With Horses Podcast.

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