Consider this startling fact: According to a Pew Research Study, in the United States, 63% of people still identify as Christians. That number, based on what I hear from media reports, and experientially what I feel in this nation, seems very high. With 63% of people believing in Jesus we ought to have crazy influence in every sector! But we don’t.
Why is this? Because, according to a recent Barna study, only 25% are practicing Christians.
By the way, the bar for what it takes to be a practicing Christian, according to Barna, isn’t all that high. This is Barna’s definition of a Practicing Christian:
- Those who attend a religious service at least once a month
- Those who say their faith is very important in their lives
- Those who self-identify as a Christian.
We’ve emphasized faith and God’s grace, but the crucial work of building disciples has been neglected. This disparity calls for introspection. The word ‘Savior’ appears 37 times in the Bible, whereas ‘LORD’ is mentioned over 7000 times, indicating a call not just for belief but for active following.
American churches have created many believers but very few followers.
The need for discipleship has never been clearer, yet the path forward seems increasingly confusing.
The urgency of this situation is underscored by a study from Lifeway Research in 2022, revealing that the number one skill pastors felt they needed to develop was disciple making.
This collective realization signifies our acknowledgment that the current methods are ineffective. But this chart also shows me that while we recognize the need for a more clear disciple making strategy in our churches, many of us aren’t confident in our path forward.
Sam Gibson is a pastor in New York City that was preaching on revival. In this sermon, referencing Barna’s study and all the charts and trends moving in the wrong direction, he noted two things needed to stop what Barna said is otherwise an irreversible decline in our churches: a move of God and intentional discipleship.
We can’t make God move, but we can make room for God to move.
That’s what disciples do.
This is our moment to rise above accidental discipleship and lead with purpose. It’s an opportunity to shape the future of our churches, revive the Christian spirit, and redefine the perception of Christianity in our communities.
We stand at a critical juncture: either embrace intentional discipleship or witness irreversible decline in the church. But, again, how do we transform believers into followers of Jesus?
I’ve spent the last decade helping more than 1000 churches produce greater followers of Jesus, and now, I want to help you.
And I believe that you need this.
You, the pastors and leaders, are here because you refuse to accept mediocrity. You recognize the untapped potential within your congregations. You long for your church to embody the true essence of Christianity. The solution lies in intentional discipleship and a move of God. It demands wholehearted commitment, purposeful leadership, and deliberate actions.
And, friends, it’s not impossible.
That’s why I created The Disciple Making Playbook. The goal of this online course is to give you everything you need to develop a Jesus-centered disciple making playbook that everybody in your church can get excited about.
You can expect more than just theoretical knowledge. We will delve into practical strategies, engage in meaningful discussions, and provide actionable insights to guide you in your disciple-making journey.
So, let’s embark on this journey with hope, determination, and an unwavering faith. Together, we will create a disciple-making playbook that not only revitalizes our churches but also rekindles the fervor of genuine followership, setting the stage for a revival that will reshape the Western Church. Get ready to lead with intentionality, disciple with purpose, and experience the miraculous move of God in your congregation. Welcome to a new era of discipleship.
Let’s do this!