Assessing discipleship at Redeemer

In March Redeemer conducted a church-wide survey on discipleship and spiritual habits. As Redeemer transitions into three distinct churches and seeks to fulfill the Rise pledge of increasing the number of Christians from 5% to 15% in the city, it’s more important than ever to help attendees live out their faith.

We had a goal of at least 500 completed surveys per congregation, and thanks to your support, 1,549 adults participated. The results helped us to understand where congregants are in their spiritual walk and how Redeemer can improve discipleship offerings.

Among the highlights, we learned that there are three predominant groups of people at Redeemer, each with distinct needs: new attendees, those growing in their faith, and mature Christians. Not surprisingly, the more engaged attendees were in community, scripture, service, and leadership, the more spiritual growth they reported. A strong foundation in the Bible and having personal quiet times was key. For many, childhood laid the foundation for spiritual development; 75% of those being very knowledgeable in the Bible said the Bible and/or Christianity influenced their homes growing up.

Redeemer has stressed the importance of being known in a community group, and while the number of respondents who said they attend a community group (CG) was strong — 70%, the actual number of Redeemer congregants in a CG is lower at ~33% (based on CG records in our database). One of the most common reasons for not joining community groups was lack of time and scheduling, especially for people with busy work hours or parents trying to juggle family time. Some also said they have not found a community group they felt comfortable in, citing differences in age (baby boomers vs. the majority of attendees in their 20s-30s) and feeling intimidated to join a long-standing group with established friendships.

We also learned that while many felt equipped to serve the poor and marginalized, share their faith with others, practice hospitality, and integrate faith with work, relatively few did so regularly.

As we reflect on the findings, we’re working through different approaches to reach those who are struggling with spiritual growth. We’re experimenting with foundational tools for Bible reading, online learning, and smaller groups to foster spiritual growth/accountability.

In the meantime, we challenge you to consider taking one step towards living out your faith more intentionally. Perhaps you could commit to regular scripture reading and prayer, or start a prayer/accountability group (more information about these “triads” is to come) with one to two other friends. As one participant in an earlier focus group said, “[We need] to decide if we’re a cruise ship or a battleship. Right now often times we’re a cruise ship. A cruise ship starts in one place, goes out to have some fun, and comes back to the same place. But a battleship has a mission. It goes out, and it has a purpose.”

Below are some highlights from the discipleship survey. Of the 1,549 adults who participated, 76% attend Redeemer weekly and 17% attend almost monthly. 70% of respondents led, attended, or visited community groups.

Chart 1 shows respondents who felt extremely or well-equipped in spiritual practices vs. actually participating in them very often.

Chart 2 compares spiritual growth against reading or listening to the Bible on your own daily.

Chart 3 compares spiritual growth against talking about your faith "very" or "somewhat often."

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