It’s no secret that many churches have not done a good job with discipleship. My generation talked about it, but seldom thought about it strategically. If you want to find out about the discipleship level of your congregation, consider some of these ways:
- Ask individuals. Ask members when you’re with them: “Which of the following best describes you: unsure of your salvation; a newer believer never discipled; an older believer never really discipled; an older believer who’s been discipled?” Simply asking the question will tell you much.
- Do a congregational survey. You might use the above questions, or you might create others. My experience is that believers appreciate the opportunity to be honest about their spirituality without feeling judged.
- Listen to people. Pay attention to how they talk about life, trouble, and faith. Listen for evidence that they know/don’t know the Word. Simply hearing them talk about prayer (or even listening to their prayers) can tell you something.
- Create some small group case studies. Put your members in hard situations where they have to discuss what they think (e.g., what do you think happens to the person in the African bush who dies without ever hearing about Jesus?), and you’ll learn where your folks are.
- Strongly encourage members to join a small group. It’s in the more personal relationships of small groups that we learn about individual lives. Train your small group leaders to take do steps #1-4 above so they can help you evaluate your congregation.
- Return to the basics in preaching and teaching. Go back and teach what the words “Bible” and “testament” mean. Challenge your members to memorize the books of the Bible. Teach them how to pray as you would a child. Listen to their feedback, and I think you’ll find you’re speaking to where much of your congregation is.
- Find out how many members are intentionally investing in other believers. The greater the discipleship level is, the more likely it is that mature believers will be mentoring others.
What other ways would you add to this list?