In the well-known and well-quoted passage in Matthew 28:18-20 we are commanded to go and make disciples. This is the mandate for His churches; yesterday, today and forever. Is the church you are a part of, or help lead, truly a disciple-making church or just a smorgasbord of activities that are keeping people super busy and super tired? Chuck Lawless shares some probing questions on this issue.
Originally published by Chuck Lawless
Can your church leaders describe what a “disciple” looks like in your church? If they can’t describe what you hope to produce in your members, it’s likely that your overall goal is nebulous. That lack of clarity will hinder your church’s discipleship.
Does your church have a required membership class? A membership class begins discipleship early, and it sets expectations for further discipling as a member of a local body.
Does the church have a church covenant that is up-to-date, relevant, and utilized? A covenant that only hangs on the wall is nothing more than a picture in a frame. Churches with legitimate covenants also typically have a strategy to help members fulfill the covenant.
How does the number of additions compare to the church’s increase/decrease in attendance over the past year? If the church gained 25 new members, but the corresponding attendance figures show an increase of only five, further assessment is needed. It’s possible the church’s back door is so wide open you’re losing almost as many people as you’re gaining.
Are new believers discipled immediately? Young believers are sometimes the most teachable members of a church. Healthy churches start discipling them before they figure out they can be members without being discipled.
Are your members growing in godliness? This one’s more difficult to evaluate, but churches that produce disciples produce men and women who reject temptations and follow God fully.
Does the church offer small groups that include equipping and accountability for holy living? If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I recommend small groups that warmly invite the unchurched to participate. At the same time, I also encourage churches to have small groups that allow for significant life-on-life interaction and serious accountability.
Does the church have an intentional strategy for teaching spiritual disciplines? Discipling churches don’t just tell folks to read the Word, pray, fast, and do other spiritual disciplines; instead, they teach and lead them to make disciplines a part of their lives.
Is the pastoral staff mentoring other believers? If the leaders of the church aren’t pouring their lives into other believers, they will lack credibility in asking others to do so. Strong discipleship churches are led by mentor-pastors.
Is the church strategically discipling teens and children? Discipling congregations recognize that good discipleship begins early. They intentionally connect older members with younger members to promote mutual spiritual growth.