In Part 1, I shared that Dr. Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, wrote an article in the most recent edition of Facts & Trends. The article was entitled 7 Indicators of True Church Discipleship. There he shared 7 evidences, measures, or indicators of disciple-making taking place in and through the church.
In Part 1, I shared the first 3 of his 7 “indicators” along with my comments about each: (1) members read and study the Bible daily, (2) members are engaged in some type of Bible study group, and (3) members are sharing their faith on a regular basis.
In Part 2, I will share his final four measures or indicators of disciple-making along with my comments:
4. Members are generous with their giving. In Matthew 6:21 (ESV), Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Giving is often the sail catching the wind of the the heart’s priorities. If self is the priority, it will show. If God is the priority, evidence will be obvious. This is a heart measure of discipleship. Disciple-making churches are not afraid of addressing this important topic and practice.
5. Members are expected to attend a corporate worship service each week. A lack of interest in corporate worship is a measure or indicator of a lack of connection to God and understanding of His expectations and Word. The author of Hebrews recognizes the problem in the early days of the church, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” (10:25, ESV). A coal pulled out of the fire, burns out. We are meant to be together with Him. Disciple-making churches lift up the value of corporate worship.
6. Members are involved in ministry and missions. The natural outcome of a life spent with Jesus is serving and making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). His priorities become our priorities. His concern for the lost and hurting become our concerns. Encountering God in His Word leads to a life of obedience in the world among hurting people who need Jesus. Evidence of individual disciple-making can be seen in the move from self-centeredness to other-centeredness. Disciple-making churches expect and lead opportunties to pray and care for others locally and beyond.
7. The church has an entry-point class all new members attend. How can people coming from a variety of backgrounds become a team? Pointing them toward the Savior is an essential start. But offering a first steps or new member class can also lead new members to understand the vision, purpose, and priorities of the church. An entry-point class can undergird and support new Christians and new members as they begin their journey with Jesus and the church. If there is resistance to participation, it is a sign of a discipleship issue. Disciple-making churches understand the value and expect all new members to participate.
Now pause to evaluate your church or group’s disciple-making. How are you doing with these 4 measures? Which of these 4 measures is your strength? Which needs work? What can you do this week to strengthen disciple-making? Measuring can be painful but is necessary in order to be more effective for Him. Make disciples!
For more about disciple-making, check out these blog posts: