Appendix B of Bill Hull’s The Complete Book of Discipleship (p 310) contains a list (from original research by George Barna) of what makes churches effective at disciple-making. It is well worth reading as many churches appear to have little idea of how to make disciples. It should also be noted that churches that made disciples didn’t do all of these, they did a few of them well.
Barna’s research showed that “a church engaged in effective discipleship is a church that will grow steadily and solidly.”‘ In addition, the research demonstrated how churches can correct the nine flaws above. Every church doing well did a few of the following nine things well.
1. The leaders had passion for making disciples.
2. Depth: Personal growth and spiritual reproduction were one and the same.
3. Maturity: The end product was for a person to reach his or her highest earthly potential in Christ.
4. Practice: The repeated acting of the will created habits and therefore, character.
5. Process: Discipleship is not a destination but a journey. The process is lifelong and one must be patient.
6. Interactive: Discipleship is done in community, not in isolation.
7. Multifaceted: The process incorporates a variety of thrusts toward building us up in Christ.
8. Lifelong: Every day of life for all of life. Don’t think program, trust the process.
9. Christ-like: The marker is Jesus, being formed into his image; all else is a waste of effort.’