How to recognize a disciple-making church

Prior to his ascension, Jesus gave his followers a command destined to change the world.  He said, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” (Mt. 28:19a, CSB).  Our purpose for the church can be summed up in this directive.  So, how are we doing?

One of my favorite lists comes from Ron Edmundson, Pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, KY, as he blogs on biblestudytools.com.  Here are some of his indicators with supporting scripture that reveal a disciple-making congregation:

Those who have been in the church the longest complain the least.  (Philippians 2:14)

The leaders of the church are most likely to give up “their” seats, park farther from the building, or do whatever is necessary to help the Body.  (Matthew 23:11)

• The church celebrates most when those far from faith come to faith. (Luke 15:7)

• Members care that others needs are met more than their own.   (Philippians 2:4)

• The church is willing to make sacrifices to attract the lost. (Acts 15:19)

• There is joy even during suffering.  (James 1:2)

• The teaching is a balance of truth and grace. (John 1:17)

• The financial needs of the church are funded, with people willingly sacrificing. No one begs for money.  (2 Corinthians 9:7)

• There are no petty disputes and grudges among the people of the church.  (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Now as much as I love Ron’s list, which he admits can be expanded, I also like to simplify.  When looking at our churches through the maze of Bible studies, Sunday Schools and small groups, the only way to know if we are getting the job done is to measure results.  Most of these are found in two places.  I call these the Serving Quotient and the Evangelism Quotient.

The Serving Quotient asks, “Do our members now demonstrate the servant-attitude of Jesus Christ?  Serving involves joyfully giving, suffering and taking on the jobs others refuse.  For these disciples, life becomes a divine mission and they are missionaries on their field every day.

The Evangelism Quotient measures how effectively we are sharing the good news with others.  In a previous youth ministry, I remember how I realized we were making real disciples when youth would bring their friends to church after leading them to Christ at home or school.  Like the early church, they had already learned about the faith and could articulate it to others, even to the point of conversion.  Reminds me of what Jesus said in John 15:8 CSB, “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.”

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