Tools for Discipleship


Recent Barna research shows that only 20% Christians are involved in some sort of discipleship activity.  That means that four out of five people who profess faith in Christ are not a part of any regular gathering that is intended to foster spiritual growth in their lives.

Of those 20%, I would hate to know how many of them are approaching discipleship in effective ways.  So many small groups are primarily social gatherings, in which the spiritual content of the gathering is given less attention than who is assigned to bringing snacks this week.

That same Barna study also shows that most Christians are satisfied with their spiritual lives.  38% say they are happy with their spiritual lives, and an addition 36% say that they’re almost where they want to be.  But only 20% overall are a part of discipleship.  How can that be?

Only 20% Christians are involved in some sort of discipleship activity.The Barna research suggests complacency – and I have to agree.  But I am not nearly as interested in condemning spiritual complacency or laziness as I am in addressing it.  How can the church help the individual to understand the importance of being discipled?  And how do we need to approach discipleship in ways that are effective, so that the efforts that we are putting forth are producing growth?

I’m trying to work through answers and approaches to these questions now.  One way to approach it is to develop a tool that people can use to set spiritual goals and keep themselves accountable to them.  There are a number of challenges, though – focus, execution, follow-up, etc.  A person might recognize that they are not allowing scripture to influence their lives, and set a goal to be more engaged in the reading of scripture.  That’s a great goal, but what tools can the church provide to facilitate progress toward this goal?  How can the church encourage the individual to follow-up on their goals?

I have an idea in mind, but I’m not sure how to put it all together yet.  So far, the only thing I am certain about is that 20% is not an acceptable number.

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