Intentional Discipleship Begins with You
A study of 4,000 people by LifeWay Research identified eight attributes of discipleship. These are attributes of believers who are growing spiritually. They eight attributes of a maturing believer are:
- Bible engagement
- Obeying God and denying self
- Serving God and others
- Sharing Christ
- Exercising faith
- Seeking God
- Building relationships
- Unashamed transparency
The study indicated that spiritual growth does not happen by accident, but is intentional. However, not all believers instinctively know how to grow. It takes guidance from church leaders and other disciples of Jesus. This means that we also have to be intentional about helping others grow spiritually. This is also what I found in my research on discipleship.
Using the eight attributes as starting points, we can guide others to spiritual growth by helping them practice spiritual disciplines, such as Bible study and prayer. We can also help people exercise their faith by giving them service opportunities in their communities and by teaching them to intentionally build authentic relationships with people. When relationships are built, discipleship is the natural result. However, as I constantly communicate with my own church, we must serve and develop relationships with others with no strings attached, just as Jesus did.
Take a look at your church and determine which of these eight attributes are weakest. You may want to have your church take the Transformational Discipleship Assessment, which is available for a fee from LifeWay. Once you have decided which attribute the majority of the people in your church struggle with, you can focus your time and energy on helping them grow in that specific area.
Effective leaders model spiritual maturity to their followers. So, it is imperative for you to first be aware of your own weaknesses and begin working on them.
What attribute do you struggle with the most and what can you do to improve it?