In the world of economics, leading indicators are “indicators that usually change before the economy as a whole changes. They are therefore useful as short-term predictors of the economy.” Stock market returns, building permits, and average weekly jobless claims are all leading indicators. Do you think there might be a set of leading indicators that are short-term predictors of small groups that make disciples? Take a look at this Dallas Willard definition of a disciple:
“A disciple is a person who has decided that the most important thing in their life is to learn how to do what Jesus said to do. A disciple is not a person who has things under control, or knows a lot of things. Disciples simply are people who are constantly revising their affairs to carry through on their decision to follow Jesus.” Rethinking Evangelism
Four Leading Indicators of Small Groups That Make Disciples
Here are what I think are four leading indicators of small groups that make disciples:
1. Following Jesus is recognized as the most important thing in life.
Modeled by pastors, coaches and leaders…nothing else is even close. How often do other things take precedence?
2. Learning how to do what Jesus said to do is always the emphasis.
Note: how, not what, is the point. How often does your ministry emphasize what, not how?
3. Discipleship is never described as a class to be attended or a course to be completed.
Do you offer classes or courses that emphasize completion or arrival?
4. Disciples are always characterized as pressing on and straining toward.
Do pastors and leaders acknowledge that they are works in process?
Do you see these leading indicators in your small group ministry, or are you seeing something less significant?
This article on small groups that make disciples originally appeared here, and is used by permission.