7 Ways to Evaluate Your Church Members’ Spiritual Growth

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.  
  6. 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.   
  7. 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? 


  • Dale Beighle says:

    You could not be more correct on every point.
    How many people read their Bible every day?
    You can’t grow if you are not in the Word.

  • C. A. says:

    Excellent list, Chuck. Take them to lunch, meet them outside their work for coffee, visit mother’s who are holding down the home, and ask how their faith affects their work and vice versa. I’m looking to see if they making the connection of faith work/home. Visit seniors and ask if there is a difference from the faith of younger years and the present. What is it? I’ve learned a lot asking those questions and listening.

  • Robby says:

    Regarding item #7, the most effective tool I’ve ever seen used to help develop a man’s daily devotion routine (i.e. discipleship) involves 3 simple steps. Step #1: Find a fellow believer or two and ask them to help you establish a more consistent, unrushed, daily devotion, Step #2: Once each of you complete your daily quite time, simply text the word “Amen” to the other guys in your small group, Step #3: If you don’t receive an “Amen” text from a group member for two or three consecutive days, contact him to see what’s up. I challenge anyone needing to disciple men to start with this method in order to help get them into a daily devotional routine.

    • Chuck Lawless says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, Robby. 

      • Robby says:


        Is there an avenue to spread the word to men about the method I briefly describe above? It’s made such a difference in most men that have embraced it.

        • Chuck Lawless says:

          I hope this post will help do that. You might also want to write an article about it and see if a denominational website, newsletter, or communications office might publish it.

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