Dan Reiland The Pastor's Coach – Developing Church Leaders

Category / Spiritual Life

Are you a Star Trek fan? If not, perhaps you’re not familiar with the term Kobayashi Maru.

The Kobayashi Maru is a training exercise in the fictional Start Trek universe designed to test the character of Starfleet Academy cadets in a no-win scenario.

What does that have to do with Sunday sermons?

I admire and respect senior pastors and teaching pastors who carry the weight of communicating to such a diverse crowd on Sunday mornings.

It doesn’t really matter if it’s 80 people, 800 people or 8,000.

It’s nearly impossible to teach in such a way to reach the entire congregation right where they live.

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Discipleship is core to what we do as a church.

However, discipleship represents something much more than a program. Discipleship is something bigger than an institution that “organizes” a process for spiritual growth. 

We are the church, and we are disciples!

That represents a significant challenge; how to organize something in the natural realm that inherently belongs in the supernatural realm.

This is a huge subject. And, I’d like to focus on a specific slice of the discipleship arena, centering on these three questions:

  • How do you as the pastor live above the warning signs?
  • How do you as the pastor personally fit into a process of discipleship?
  • How do you as the pastor or church staff member, develop your spiritual vitality?

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People intuitively seek traits of the heart over skills of the trade when choosing a pastor to connect with and follow spiritually.

Yes, things like good preaching, wise administration, and strong ministry programming matter, but they are not at the top of the list.

There’s a lot of grace for a “good not great” sermon when the pastor is fully trusted, loved and is a good leader.

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It was 29 years ago when I met Dr. Billy Graham. I had prayed a youthful prayer for ten years asking God that I might have one minute with my spiritual hero. That moment came on Oct 12, 1989.

John and Margaret Maxwell invited Patti and I to the 40th anniversary celebration of Billy Graham’s Evangelistic Crusades, sponsored by the Salvation Army.

The time with John and Margaret was wonderful, and the dinner celebration honoring Dr. Graham was amazing. But a private moment with Billy Graham was, to a young pastor, a once in a lifetime gift.

The photo in this post is a special one to me. My spiritual hero and my leadership mentor. (No comments on the glasses or mustache.. hey, it was the 80’s!)

The evening was fast-paced and there were probably 50-75 reporters pressing in on the famous evangelist before the celebration started. Somehow in all the hustle; John, Dr. Graham and I ended up in a private room for several minutes together.

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