Book: Growing True Disciples
Author: George Barna
Publisher: Random House, Inc (2001)
Details: Hardcover, 208 pages, $19.99 MSRP
Barna has once again touched upon one of the key issues in the Christian community within the United States. The vast majority of American Christians and Churches have no real sense of passion or calling to make disciples, either of themselves or others. Take that reality and put it in context with Christ’s call for us to, “Go into all the world and make disciples…” and you can see why Barna is waving red flags and screaming for people to take notice.“In one recent national survey we asked people to describe their goals in life. Almost nine out of ten adults described themselves as ‘Christian’.” Four out of ten said they were personally committed to Jesus Christ, had confessed their sins, and believed they will go to heaven after they die because of God’s grace provided through Jesus’ death and resurrection. But not one of the adults we interviewed said their goal in life was to be a committed follower of Jesus Christ or to make disciples. (This survey by the way, included interviews with pastors and other church leaders as well as hundreds of people who regularly attend church services and programs.)”
If the issue was “simply” individual/personal discipleship that would be one thing…but Barna found that churches themselves have lost, if they ever had, a focus on discipleship.
“Are you satisfied with the nature of your church today but simply want your church to be bigger? Or are you committed to seeing a qualitative improvement in the ministry of your church and in the lives of the individuals within it?”
Sadly, what Barna found is that the majority of churches were more focused on numerical growth than qualitative spiritual growth that results in the development of true disciples.
What is the big deal? Baran recognizes that…
“The strength and influence of the church is wholly dependent upon its commitment to true discipleship. Producing transformed lives, and seeing those lives reproduced in others, is a core challenge to believers and to the local church.”
If the Church is to really live out its calling to be “the Hope of the World” we must be creating disciples. The reality that we have to look long and hard to find anywhere in our society where the church is having a significant impact upon the culture is a sign that we are failing to create the kind of disciples Christ has called us to.
This book is classic Barna, identify an issue…research the realities…explore possible solutions…and distill all the information into a few “truths” that if taken and applied will help the Church to grow closer to what God is calling it to become. If you are interested in the future of the church or intentionally working to grow yourself or others as disciples then I heartily recommend this book to you.