12 Indications a Church is Making Disciples

By July 9, 2018Christians, Jesus

I’ve often heard people say you can’t measure discipleship. I don’t know if that’s true.

It is certainly true you can’t necessarily put a number or percentage on discipleship growth – as easily as you can numerical growth, but you can tell, over time, if discipleship has happened or is happening.

Granted, it’s still going to be subjective, as is this post, but I believe the Bible gives us clear indications someone has been discipled.

Here are 12 indications a church is making disciples:

Those who have been in the church the longest complain the least. Do everything without complaining or arguing. Philippians 2:14

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

Members care about the needs of others being met more than their own personal desires, comfort or wishes. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:4

The church is willing to make sacrifices (and changes) in order 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

Gossip is not an issue. Passive aggression is rare. No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

There is certain joy, even during uncertain times, (including personal suffering). Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1:2

The consistent teaching, from behind the podium to small group Bible studies, is a balance of truth and grace. Jesus came full of grace and truth. John 1:17

People willingly sacrifice, so financial needs of the church, within the church, and in the missions of the church are fully funded. No one has to beg for money – and people don’t disappear during a series on giving. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart–not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

There are no petty disputes or grudges among the people of the church. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15

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

The most appreciated people in the church are often the least seen. The leaders of the church are most likely to give up “their” seats, park further from the building, or do whatever is necessary to help the Body. The greatest among you will be your servant. Matthew 23:11

Church members live their life with mission and purpose, without being asked to do so. Go, therefore, and make disciples… Matthew 28:19

Of course, there are no perfect churches. And, so no church has 100% of the people – or any one person – getting all of these right. But, increasingly over time a church making disciples should see growth and improvement in people who behave more like Jesus and more like who we’ve been commanded to be. That’s what discipleship is.

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.)

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Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 13 Comments

  • […] 12 Indications A Church Is Making Disciples by Ron Edmondson […]

  • Shane Harris says:

    The fruit that is made apparent outside the walls of the church. Disciples are called to “go” not to “sit”. As we grow people ( young Christian’s and the world) should become curious as to why we behave the way we do. The answer should always be Jesus.

  • […] many are being discipled, and how many are discipling others (Ron Edmundson has a good post on indications that a church is making disciples that I think may provide a starting point for us […]

    • The biggest problem is that many people have been made churchgoers rather than disciples. They are taught to become spectators, rather than participators. The churches have members that have been supporters of their church all their lives, without having a personal God given destiny. They are lifetime members who have listened to thousands of life changing sermons, but don’t know what to do with them. A true church should not be a pond, but a river. God saves, we make disciples, (even children & youth) and send them out to multiply and plant churches (not necessarily buildings) and network across the area and nation. Then God brings more in to disciple. “And Lord added to church daily.” (Acts.2:47)

  • Sam Shaw says:

    Growth in Christlikeness (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc.),
    Humility,
    Readiness to confess sin,
    Eagerness to keep the unity of the Spirit,
    Dependance on prayer,
    Wholehearted worship,
    Accountability,
    Intentional mentoring of the next generation,
    Courage to face opposition,
    Increasing seriousness about moral purity,
    Faithfulness in marriage and parenting,
    Social involvement in the name of Christ,
    World vision,
    Optimism (this is faith and hope combined)

  • Dave Roderick says:

    I would add, prayer is what the church does before planning.

  • @MarkMincy says:

    Great thoughts. Perhaps another good indicator: The only rivalry is "outdoing one another in showing honor" – Romans 12:10b

  • Jorge Rivero says:

    Thanks Ron. I know it's not a checklist but rather an indicator, and we can always do better, but as I read this I thought of the blessing of my home church… I'm glad to see God raise up a congregation I call home that is driven by discipleship as measured by these Biblical truths.

    Very encouraging to anyone in any place of the spectrum of discipleship.

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