Several years ago the Barna Research Group conduct a study to determine the impact of various strategies churches employed for producing genuine followers of Jesus. One of the more interesting findings related to outcomes of discipleship – that is, what it will look like, when true biblical discipleship takes place. While the Barna study was informative to churches at-large the results of the study are equally important to those engaged as laborers making disciples who can make disciples.
If your objective in making disciples is to help others grow toward spiritual maturity so they in turn can invest their life in making disciples, then perhaps you would be wise to consider the following:
- True discipleship produces holistic personal transformation, not mere assimilation into a community of church members.
- True discipleship is witnessed by people who are determined to be a blessing to others – people who are never content to simply accept and enjoy God’s blessings.
- True discipleship creates Christians who aggressively pursue spiritual growth rather than passively experience spiritual evolution.
- True discipleship spawns individuals who develop renewed lifestyle instead of believers who mechanically check off completed assignments on a developmental agenda.
- True discipleship results in people who are more concerned about the quality of their character than the extent of their knowledge.
- True discipleship builds churches known for their culture of love, commitment, and service rather than for their events, information, and programs.
- True discipleship facilitates people devoted to a lifelong journey to imitate Jesus Christ rather than the completion of a short-term regimen of tasks and responsibilities.
As you labor to make disciples, how many of these outcomes are you impacting with your effort?
Source: Barna Research Group. Growing True Disciples. Colorado Springs, CO, WaterBrook Press, 2001.