The internet is buzzing with stats and trends published by Ligonier’s annual State of Theology report. Rather than reacting with debate or criticism, let’s choose to be proactive within our own contexts. As church pastors, ministry leaders, and disciple-makers, we need to wrestle with the obvious discipleship problem in America. We have to start thinking differently about discipleship, because what churches have been doing (or not doing) clearly isn’t working. It’s time for a new plan.
Here are three ways to equip yourself (and those you lead) in light of current realities:
- Consider the Data
See it for yourself. Look over the State of Theology 2022 results. You can even take the quiz. Data shows that Christian beliefs are drifting in the wrong direction—on some issues, Evangelical views are no different or even “worse” than the general population. For example:
- God accepts the worship of all religions. (56% Agree)
- Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God. (73% Agree)
- The Holy Spirit is a force but is not a personal being. (60% Agree)
Right away we see major confusion on the nature of the Trinity. Each of those points reflect an increase in agreement among Evangelicals since last year, similar to the beliefs among Americans in general, and the question about the Holy Spirit being an impersonal “force” is slightly higher than the average American.
- Listen to this Important Conversation
Rooted Network authors, Eric Geiger and Ed Stetzer, discussed the shifts on Moody Radio (Putting Faith into Action—September 24, 2022) and the Church Leaders podcast (What the ‘Alarming’ State of Theology Report Means for the Church—October 3, 2022). Both of those episodes are available now; the conversation is worth listening to and considering within your own sphere of influence and responsibility. Here are a few highlights:
- What was your reaction when you saw the State of Theology report?
- Why is it important for the average person to understand theology?
- How do you try to help people in your church be more deeply connected to theology?
- Are we in a “crisis of discipleship”? How do we have more effective discipleship?
“There’s a deficit in theological thinking and understanding among God’s people. And at the same time, there is this hunger among God’s people to know and to understand the deeper things of God.”
- Consider Your Disciple-Making Strategy
The Rooted Network exists to inspire, equip, and resource your mission of making disciples. This month, we want to partner with you in a few highly-practical ways:
- Free Resource: “Your Discipleship Pathway and Ecosystem.” Check your email for this month’s PDF download—worksheets to help you and your team think through a strategic action plan for disciple-making. If you’re not yet a member of our email list, sign up below to receive October’s free resource.
- Blog posts: For the month of October, each weekly post will focus on a “Discipleship Pathway” and “Discipleship Ecosystem.” The weekly email will notify you of each new post so that you don’t miss anything. (Follow us on Facebook and Instagram too for the latest blog posts and other content to inspire and equip your disciple-making.)
- Sample Downloads: Specifically in relation to theological discipleship, check out our newest Bible study from Eric Geiger and Ed Stetzer—Theology and the Mission of God: A Call to Faith in Action. Download a free sample to preview this timely new resource, created to help small groups and churches take a “Deep Dive” into important theological topics without overwhelming the average person.
So, map out your discipleship pathway and ecosystem, keep an eye out for weekly updates to the blog for more information on how to think strategically and holistically about your disciple-making plan, and preview our new Deep Dive study from Eric and Ed—Theology and the Mission of God. Let us know what you think on Facebook or Instagram. See you next week!
Continue reading our other posts in this series of Building a Discipleship Ecosystem.
Jeremy Maxfield is Director of Content for Rooted Network. A graduate of the University of Georgia and Beeson Divinity School, he has served in church and publishing roles for nearly 20 years. Jeremy and his family live outside of Chattanooga, TN.