Jesus said, "Go and make disciples." You've heard it. You've studied it. You've preached it. But, have you ever defined it? What, exactly, makes someone a "disciple"?

May I suggest that, for all practical purposes, a "disciple" is synonymous with an "assimilated church member." Or, at least, it should be.

If you agree, then try this exercise with your church leaders: list the qualities of an ideal member for your congregation. How would such a person act? What would he say? How would she feel?

Once you have listed the ideal qualities of a disciple, examine your church's programming to see how—or if—you are helping people reach this ideal. After all, it seems reasonable that church activities are intended to lead people toward some goal.

Here are nine characteristics I would suggest could begin your thinking about the ideal characteristics of your church members.

An assimilated member:

  1. Understands and identifies with the goals of your church. Goals are what church leaders have determined to accomplish in the coming year. How many of your members/attenders could list at least two of your church's goals for next year? (Perhaps a prior question would be, "Does your church have goals?")
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