As Christians bring the message of the Gospel to the world, eﬀective approaches to discipleship become more critical. A research study by Barna Group revealed that church leaders exemplar discipleship ministries among US Christian adults. Moreover, the researchers also surveyed Christian educators to determine the current state of discipleship in the US.
Survey on Discipleship Amongst Church Members
In a random sample of Christians, practicing and non-practicing, the best way to describe their process of growing spiritually is by “becoming more Christ-like” (43%), followed by “spiritual growth” (31%), and “spiritual journey” (28%). The term “discipleship” only ranked fourth on the list and was only selected by fewer than one in ﬁve Christians (18%). Moreover, among those who did not choose the term “discipleship,” only one-quarter consider discipleship still relevant to their Christian experience. This implies that while spiritual growth is significant, the language and terminology surrounding discipleship change.
In terms of the effectiveness of discipleship, Christian adults still believe their churches are doing well. About 52 percent of those who attended church in the past six months believe their church is doing a good job helping people grow spiritually.” On the other hand, 40 percent said, “it probably does so.”
About two-thirds of Christians (67%) attending church, who have considered spiritual growth as necessary, claim that their church places “a lot” of emphasis on spiritual growth. Conversely, 27 percent say their church only gives “some” focus.
Only one (1) percent believes that today’s churches are doing very well in reaching out to new and young believers. A majority of 6 out of 10 (60%) feel that the churches are not discipling too well. Pastors give their church higher marks than churches overall, but only a few believe that churches excel in discipleship.
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