I've often heard people say you can't measure discipleship. I don't know if that's true.
It is true that you can't necessarily put a number or percentage on discipleship growth, but you can tell—over time—if it has happened or is happening.
Here are 10 indications a church is making disciples:
1. Those who have been in the church the longest complain the least. – "Do everything without complaining or arguing" (Philip. 2:14).
2. The leaders of the church are most likely to give up "their" seats, park farther from the building, or do whatever is necessary to help the body. – "The greatest among you must be a servant" (Matt. 23:11).
3. The church celebrates most when those far from faith come to faith. "In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away" (Luke 15:7).
4. Members care that others' needs are met more than their own. "Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too" (Philip. 2:4).
5. The church is willing to make sacrifices to attract the lost. – "And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God" (Acts 15:19).
6. There is joy even during suffering. – "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds" (James 1:2).
7. The teaching is a balance of truth and grace. – "Jesus came full of grace and truth" (John 1:17).
8. The financial needs of the church are funded, with people willingly sacrificing. No one begs for money. – "Each person should do as he has decided in his heart–not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
9. There are no petty disputes and grudges among the people of the church. – "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up" (1 Thess. 5:11).
10. The church takes care of each other well. – "There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold" (Acts 4:34).
Let's keep this going. These are a few that come to my mind; there are others. Prayer. Forgiveness. I'd love to post again — maybe "21 Indications a Church Is Making Disciples." Add one of your own in the comments. (And, give your Bible reference.) I may choose yours for my next post.
Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.
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