Count Your Disciples: The “Are You a Disciple?” Survey
The central mission of the church is, “Go and make disciples.” Should we count our disciples? If we are going to be in the disciple-making “business” and attract the resources we need, yes, we probably need to measure our effectiveness. If you wanted to count your disciples, who, or what, would you measure?
(PERSONAL NOTE: As some of you know, I am working on a Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational Change. For my dissertation I (tentatively) plan to test the hypothesis that churches which use the “Create, Capture, Sustain” Model will experience a sustainable increase in disciples, especially among men. Since an “increase in disciples” is a main target variable, I need to use a defensible definition of “disciple.”)
THE PRACTICAL IDEA
I would like to suggest 3 conditions that, if met, qualify a person to be counted as a disciple. (All 3 conditions must be present. Further, if these 3 conditions are met, the person cannot disclaim being a disciple. See 1 Corinthians 12:15-16)
- First, they profess faith in Jesus Christ
- Second, they are engaged in a process of spiritual growth and transformation
- Third, they are serving the Lord
So, if you wanted to determine who is a disciple in your church and who is not, you could administer this 3 question survey…
The “Are You a Disciple?” Survey
Note: I don’t know if this would be better if it was done anonymously or not. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
THE BIBLICAL CASE
An historic, orthodox Christian definition of a disciple is an adherent to the person and teaching of Jesus Christ. A more detailed definition could be, “A disciple is called to live in Christ, equipped to live like Christ, and sent to work for Christ.”
The biblical case for this definition can be made by examining Paul’s admonition to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:15-17…
15 From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (Calling)
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (Equipping)
17 so that the man (person) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (Sending )
Here’s another way to look at it….
- Called = Evangelism, profession, conversion, salvation, “abide in Christ” (John 15:5)
- Equipped = Teaching, growth, transformation, worldview, “hold to my teaching” (John 8:31), “teaching them to obey…” (Matthew 28:20).
- Sent = Service, good works, ministry, “bear much fruit” (John 15:8), “love one another” (John 13:34-35).
What am I missing? Let’s dialogue. Let me know if you use this survey, and how it works for you. Let me hear your thoughts at email@example.com.
Together in the battle for men’s souls,