Here’s what Scott McConnell, who just celebrated ten years of leading LifeWay Research, has learned about discipleship from a research vantage point:
- Discipleship is intentional.
Those who are maturing desire to mature. They engage in discipleship opportunities and seek Christ in their daily lives.
- Reading the Bible matters more than anything else.
Reading the Bible is the number one predictor
- The discipline of Bible engagement impacts every other discipline.
Some spiritual disciplines do not impact all the others. As an example, someone who serves may not be generous in giving. But engagement in the Word impacts every other discipline. Someone who lets the Word dwell in them simultaneously gives, serves, confesses sin, shares the gospel, etc.
- Groups matter. A lot.
Those who are in some type of group (Sunday School, small group, etc.) are much more likely to display markers of spiritual growth than those not in a group.
- There is a deep connection between discipleship and evangelism.
Disciples share the gospel. Those who are growing in Christ tell others about Him. Those who are not growing in their faith are much less likely to articulate the gospel.
As we think about disciplining ourselves for godliness in the coming year, these are points worth pondering. How will you discipline yourself in 2017?