Jump directly to the content
Jul 22, 2014
Transformation

Stories of Transformation: Making Disciples

Churches must assess themselves in an effort to be more effective at making disciples. |
Stories of Transformation: Making Disciples

Most churches do a good job of measuring what Micah Fries calls the "three B's"— budgets, buildings, and baptisms.

Those are helpful, he said. But they don't always show whether a church is fulfilling its mission to make disciples.

"Every church should ask two questions," said Fries, director of ministry development for LifeWay Christian Resources. "'Are we healthy?' and 'Are we making disciples?'''

To help answer those questions, LifeWay developed the Transformational Church Assessment Tool (TCAT)—an 80-question, online survey that looks at a church's spiritual health.

The TCAT is based on a long-term, research study of effective discipleship that included surveys of 7,000 pastors and 20,000 churches members from 123 denominations, along with in-depth interviews with hundreds of pastors.

"Its biblical, reliable, and data-driven," said Fries.

That kind of research-driven approach appealed to Steve Ballew, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Farmington, New Mexico. The church, which has aSunday attendance about 300, used the TCAT, two years ago.

Ballew said that there's difference between success and transformation. A church can grow its membership and still not affect its community.

"You have to decide - are we here to grow a church, or are we here to make a difference?" Ballew said.

An assessment tool like TCAT can help a church focus on making a difference.

"It's not simply saying, 'here are some successful models,'" he said. "It is saying, 'here are some principles that we've discovered in research that are relevant to all churches.'"

Fries compared using an assessment tool to getting a physical. It's a chance for a church to stop and focus on its long-term health, rather than the busyness of day-to-day ministry.

After taking the TCAT, Fries said, many churches are surprised how well they are doing. That's affirming for church members and pastors alike.

"It tells a church what you are doing well and gives you a few things to work on," he said.

An assessment also helps a church focus on things that important things – rather than things that seem urgent.

"Jesus gave us one great commission—go and make disciples," said Fries. "We want to help churches gauge whether or not they are really making disciples."

More information about the TCAT can be found online at tcat.lifeway.com.

Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

Posted:July 22, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Comments

Please read our comment policy before you weigh in, and then feel free to comment on Facebook.

More From This Blog

Recent Research on End-of-Life Issues Reveal Holes in Our Theology

Recent Research on End-of-Life Issues Reveal Holes in Our Theology

If we are pro-life, we are anti-assisted suicide.
Hispanic Evangelicals & Politics Today: My Interview with Gabriel Salguero

Hispanic Evangelicals & Politics Today: My Interview with Gabriel Salguero

Rev. Salguero is the founder of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) and a pastor in Orlando, FL
Four Consistent Conversations We Must Have with Ourselves

Four Consistent Conversations We Must Have with Ourselves

As it turns out, talking to ourselves may not be so crazy.

Follow Ed Stetzer

Exchange Logo

Dr. John Sorensen, President of Evangelism Explosion International, a ministry that has trained millions of Christians around the world to share Christ, discusses the state of evangelism, research on evangelism trends, as well as myths and methods of evangelism.

Cast: Ed Stetzer

Read ED Stetzer's Books

See All

Follow Christianity Today

Christianity Today
Stories of Transformation: Making Disciples