I have been in Arequipa now since Tuesday afternoon. We started off with a meeting with the pastors that came in from around Peru and South America. There were probably 50 or so in the office. They came from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and really all corners of Peru.

This is a time of questions and answers. I just get the opportunity to meet with them in a non preaching setting. We discuss ministry, doctrine, trends that are happening around the world and just whatever else comes up. This meeting took place three nights in a row with larger groups each time.

Then on Tuesday night through Thursday night I preached. The house was full. The attendance at the Pastor’s School has grown each year. God is sending in people from every where. Many are the ones that have been reached by the older pastors. Pastors of new churches that have been started out of the older churches, etc.

Several of the pastors are now fairly well known preachers and literally travel all over South America preaching. I am excited to see how God is using them.

Then on Wednesday morning through Friday morning I had a workshop. This year’s theme was on Making Disciples.

pastors schoolAfter the workshop I preached in each morning session. I think that my Spanish has suffered quite a bit from being gone so much but I really enjoyed being with the guys. God is doing a great work here and it is growing and maturing. I am very proud of them.




davidI am very proud of David, our son, as God is using him like never before. He did a great job planning the services, leading the music, and organizing so much. You can understand what I feel when I say that as a dad I am very proud of our son and his ministry.

During the conference my basic outline for all of the meeting is that discipleship is a threefold process. First, it is to win souls. That is what we see in Matthew 28:18-20. They were to go and teach before they baptized them. They were taking a person who was not saved and discipling him until he understood the gospel and believed. You teach them until they understand. They will accept or reject. The first process is more than just having them pray a prayer or read some verses. It is getting them to a point of faith.

We know the truth of

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

So we share the Bible with them. We teach them what the Bible says they are and what the consequences are.

We know that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved but that must be kept in the context. Notice what the passage says

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

If they call they will be saved. But they can’t call if they have not believed. They can’t believe if they have not heard. They can’t hear without a preacher.

So the first step or type of discipleship is sharing the gospel, soul winning, witnessing, or whatever you want to call it but a church can never get away from it. We must get up and out of our church. We must take the gospel to them. We must explain it clearly.

The second type of discipleship is “Maturing the Saints!” We see in

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

that we are to teach them to observe all things. That is the second step. We do not just get them saved. We teach them to live out what God has put in. We teach them how the great truths of Scripture are lived out. In other words we bring them to maturity. Check out

Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

The goal was to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. That word perfect means mature. Help them grow up in Christ. They should understand the Bible, salvation, baptism, walking in the Lord, and all that goes into making a person mature in Christ.

They should also know where they fit in the ministry. Check out

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

God gave gifted people to the church. They are to perfect the saints, bring them to maturity. The saints will do the work of the ministry and the church will grow. Everyone wants to fit in. Everyone wants to be used. So often they get saved, baptized, join the church but that is it. All that is left for them is to come and sit, soak, and sour. They will get all dressed up with no place to go.

That was never God’s intention. They are all part of the body. They are to fit in. They are to be useful. They are to know that God has a plan for them and is working in their lives. We must help them grow up and get involved. They must know it is their church. That they are a vital part and God is using them.

So far we have the first two steps of discipleship as I see it. We are to win souls and mature saints. If you leave either one of those to the side you have failed to carry out the Great Commission. Those that win souls and do not take them on to maturity are deceiving themselves or doing a disservice to Christ and the individual.

The next step is “Preparing Leaders!” The job is not done until we prepare people that God is calling to carry the gospel to the world. So after we see them saved then we carry them to maturity where they will be able to do the ministry as individuales.

Our church should be preparing strong laymen that know the truth, stand strong, do the work, serve with the pastor, follow the pastor, but are willing to hold him accountable also! That last part might not set well with many pastors but God did put in the Word how to deal with a pastor who failed in some way. There is no idea that you can’t touch God’s anointed rather you must do so correctly.

I Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

That elder is the pastor. So there is a right way to handle accusations. They are not to be ignored.

Now on to the next step, “Preparing Leaders!”

II Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Paul was writing to Timothy and telling him to prepare men. Timothy was a pastor and would be training others to do the same. I think it is a wonderful picture of what we are to do. It is what Jesus did:

Mark 3:14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,

Jesus chose men to be with him, to learn, and then to send them forth to preach. That is the goal of our ministry. My ministry model is be.do.serve.train.

The be is your private ministry, who you really are. It is where you fill people up with the truths of the Word of God and then wait on God to change the person.

The next level is your personal ministry, do. It is how you live out who you are. It is how people know you.

The next level is your public ministry, serve. It is how people know you. It is having a ministry so much that it marks you and you are known as that. I am a pastor, missionary, church planter, etc.

The next level is your priority ministry, train. I may not be known as this but it is the priority, the major goal of my ministry. I want to prepare people to do the work of the ministry. I want to be part of getting men to the world with the gospel.

So as we win souls, then mature saints, we also want to finish the ministry by preparing leaders. Leaders that can take the gospel to the world.

This is the outline of the major lesson that I taught this week during pastor’s school. How to go about carrying all of this out.

I want to thank you for praying for the Peru Ministry. Thank you for giving to make this ministry possible.

Now that you have read through this article what are your thoughts? Do you need something explained better? Do you disagree? Let’s talk it over.

  • Posted October 14, 2014 11:31 pm
    by Kanon Bloom

    What do you think the difference is in Romans 10:13-14 between calling on the Lord and believing? Is the calling on the Lord-like trusting him for salvation and the believing like believing that He is Lord and that he did indeed die and rise again? Or do you think that this is a wrong understanding?

    • Posted October 15, 2014 7:32 am
      by Austin Gardner

      The calling is the believing. It is an expression of the believing. No need to dissect it so much. Just realize that all that call had to hear and that means someone had to disciple them

      • Posted October 15, 2014 7:47 am
        by Kanon Bloom


  • Posted October 15, 2014 3:47 am
    by Travis Snode

    Thank you for sharing this three-fold method of discipleship. It seems that when most people talk about discipleship, they are referring to the second step. The first step of teaching them up to salvation and then preparing leaders are often neglected.

  • Posted October 15, 2014 12:27 pm
    by Sergey

    How soon should we start training a man to be a leader after making his profession of faith? Does that depend on the leader? Or do we work on perfecting the saint? Or doing both at the same time?

    • Posted October 15, 2014 12:35 pm
      by Austin Gardner

      It is a three step process. Get him saved, mature him in the faith, and prepare for leadership. So the process should never stop.

  • Posted October 16, 2014 4:08 pm
    by robert

    I love that place and the people there.

  • Posted October 17, 2014 9:17 am
    by Eric Elrod

    What things are you looking for in someone you are working with that tells you where they best fit?

    • Posted October 18, 2014 8:19 am
      by Austin Gardner

      They are working hard and it will be them that enjoys it and sees God bless it.

  • Posted November 4, 2014 8:25 am
    by Tim Kelly

    where would you go to look for people to train on the mission field?

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