Discipleship by the Numbers

August 15, 2013, 0 Comments

Last year, I had the privilege of publishing the book Transformational Discipleship with my friends Eric Geiger and Michael Kelley. It was based on a large research project performed by LifeWay Research. In the project, we interviewed a few dozen experts across Protestantism and from several countries, surveyed 1,000 North American pastors, and 4,000 North American Protestants.

The study revealed several interesting statistics that give real-life numbers about the state of discipleship in my country. The stats have stayed with me. In some sense the haunt me and in another sense they motivate me. As I have been visiting the Middle East this week, it has been a great encouragement for me to dig in even deeper in the arena of discipline others.

Let me share a few statistical realities of the church in North America that we should keep in mind as we live out our faith.

Only 47% have been discipled
Only 39% have disciples someone else
Overall, 43% have done neither
A person who has been discipled is 7.3 times more likely to disciple another believer.

Paul wrote to in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” It is a beautiful privilege to share the heart of God with others who can in turn continue in the mission of Christ.

On Friday of this week, I will have an opportunity to teach about discipleship in a church here in the Middle East. As I have been visiting with the pastor and leaders in the church, I am so amazed at their heart for making disciples. My prayer is that in our churches that we will dedicate ourselves to the task of global disciple-making.

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