These thoughts will wrap up the short series about what you should do in living out disciple-making leadership. My focus here will be on PROTECTION.
You probably read that and scratched your head as you tried to predict who was being protected in the process of DmL. We're going one more time to Paul's letter to a young pastor, so go to Titus 3:9-11. You will find that this young pastor is given discipleship direction that protects his integrity and that of the church as well.
Paul acknowledges that staying on the right path is hard, and it requires us to have guidance and education; however, he tells Titus in verse 9 to avoid things that are a waste of time and bring no value. Paul was probably referencing many of the false teachers that were on Crete (including the Judiazers who traced their tribal pedigree), but let's make a modern application - how often do we take our preferences and teach them as doctrine? This step creates major divisions within the church.
A good friend of mine, Andy Cain, addresses this briefly in something he wrote about the 10 Signs of a Healthy Church. When my personal preference (e.g., whether a drum or guitar should be used in a church) caused me to argue and become angry with someone that believes in the true, Biblical doctrines, then I am producing worthlessness. Yes, we must stand upon God's truth, but my personal preferences that I need to stretch Scriptural context to adopt are not Biblical truth. If we constantly make doctrinal mountains out of personal molehills, then we earn the reputation of being a divider and others will not want to learn from us.
The second part here is critical, so look at verses 10-11. If we see someone that is stirring up trouble, we are to warn and rebuke. This phrasing in the New Testament is in present form meaning that it will require constant effort and may take significant time. This process, then, is nothing more than disciple-making leadership as you are teaching them the right way to go. The desired result is for them to get to sound doctrine and sound faith (see Titus 1:13).
If they refuse to listen after multiple attempts, this next part seems harsh but it is not - this is the PROTECTION of the church. Paul tells Titus to have nothing else to do with them. Are we being told to give up on people? If you jump to that question, we've missed the point of verse 11 - the person we are to put distance between us and them is someone that is warped and sinful. What does that mean? Well, I'd define it this way:
Disciple-making leadership is not for the faint of heart. To protect your integrity - and that of the church - you have to know what is doctrine that cannot be compromised and what is a personal preference that can be. You also have to challenge those that are elevating personal preferences to doctrinal positions as they are causing divisions. If that person has been sufficiently taught with time and effort yet refuses to change, then separation is necessary.