|NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- LifeWay Research surveyed 7,000 churches in 2008 to discover the principles involved with healthy congregations. Last year, LifeWay's researchers went back into the field to focus on individual believers, asking more than 4,000 people about their spiritual lives and level of maturity.
The project has identified eight biblical factors that consistently show up in the life of a maturing believer. Those "attributes of discipleship" are:
1. Bible engagement
2. Obeying God and denying self
3. Serving God and others
4. Sharing Christ
5. Exercising faith
6. Seeking God
7. Building relationships
8. Unashamed transparency
"Jesus called us to make disciples of all nations, so we wanted to discover the common traits for those maturing in their faith," said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
"We have collected and analyzed a huge amount of data about how each of these attributes leads to transformational discipleship in an individual believer," Stetzer said. "Due to the sheer volume of material , it will take several months to complete our analysis and release."
Stetzer said the project's purpose is to assist church leaders in discovering how to help their members grow, because "spiritual growth does not happen by accident."
"God shapes congregations through the shaping of the individual members' lives. This shaping doesn't just happen; it's through intentional effort on the part of both leaders and church members," Stetzer said. Continued...