LifeWay Identifies 8 Attributes of Discipleship

LifeWay Research surveyed more than 4,000 people about their spiritual lives and level of maturity, and identified eight biblical factors that consistently figure in the life of a maturing believer.

The "attributes of discipleship" the Tenn.-based provider of Christian products and services identified are: Bible engagement, obeying God and denying self, serving God and others, sharing Christ, exercising faith, seeking God, building relationships, and unashamed transparency.

"We have collected and analyzed a huge amount of data about how each of these attributes leads to transformational discipleship in an individual believer, and will begin releasing the information about each factor this summer," LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer said in a statement Friday. "Due to the sheer volume of material, it will take several months to complete our analysis and release."

Part of LifeWay's long-term project called the Transformational Initiative, the Transformational Discipleship Assessment survey is aimed at assisting church leaders discover how to help their members grow. "God shapes congregations through the shaping of the individual members' lives," said Stetzer. "This shaping doesn't just happen; it's through intentional effort on the part of both leaders and church members."

LifeWay Research Director Scott McConnell added that the survey helps people see how they are doing with the eight attributes. "It answers, 'Are you growing? Are you consistently following Christ?'" he explained. "It also helps leaders know where to focus sermons, Bible studies, events and other disciple-building activities."

The research was conducted in three phases. First, recognized discipleship experts were interviewed, McConnell said. Their input was used to revise a set of questions that have been effective in measuring dozens of specific biblical principles that may be reflected in a believer's actions, attitudes or beliefs. Then 1,000 Protestant pastors in the United States were polled. In the final phase, more than 4,000 Protestants from both the U.S. and Canada were surveyed in three languages, English, Spanish and French.