As someone who has been in ministry in one way or another for over 35 years, I noticed a gap in the field recently. We have assessments for leaders, pastors, and church planters, but how do we know if someone is a disciple? That’s really the starting point and foundation for any ministry, but too often we simply assume it. And when we try to make leaders from non-disciples, it creates all kinds of problems.
Therefore, our real starting point must be discipleship. Yet how can we measure that? How can we assess for it? I wanted to help people do an evaluation of themselves by giving them the capacity to measure discipleship behaviors in their own lives accurately.
I began with a study of the portrait of Jesus as given in the four gospels, looking specifically at the reported behaviors of Jesus. Behaviors can be measured in ways that intangible qualities cannot, yet behaviors point to those underlying qualities.
At this point, I enlisted the help of Dr. Charles Ridley, a research psychologist, who worked with me on the previously developed church planter assessment and coach assessment. We sifted through the behaviors of Jesus, looking for overlaps, gaps, and comparing them to other discipleship rubrics. You can see the dimensions of discipleship we came up with here.
After refining the behaviors we wanted to measure, we set about creating a 360 degree assessment. This type of assessment involved not just a self-assessment, which is helpful but limited, but also the perspectives of peers, people who are discipling the candidate, and people the candidate is discipling.
The results generated by the assessment pinpoint both strengths and growth areas, setting forth a clear way forward for the disciple’s continuing development. You can see a sample screen shot of an assessment report here.
We believe that with this assessment—the Dimensions of Discipleship—it is possible to measure discipleship reliably in individuals, and–by looking at composite results– to measure overall trends in discipleship across ministries, across congregations, across denominations, and throughout the church worldwide.
About the developers:
Dr. Robert E. Logan
Bob has over 40 years of ministry experience, including church planting, pastoring, consulting, coaching, and speaking. Having seen a great deal, Bob remains on the cutting edge of ministry through hands-on missional involvement. Bob earned his DMin from Fuller Theological Seminary. He counts it a privilege to walk alongside ministry leaders and help catalyze their ministries toward fulfilling the call God has placed on them, and he thrives in developing holistic and transformative resources that can easily be implemented in any context. Bob enjoys cycling and volunteering in a recovery community.
Dr. Charles R. Ridley
Chuck has utilized his expertise in the area of measurement and assessment in the development of the Church Planter Profile, which has shaped the foundation of church planting all over the world. He has also done extensive work on coach competencies and assessments, supervising a qualitative international research project. Chuck earned his PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Minnesota.