How Are You Growing as a Disciple?

A Question of The Great Commission

I would like to ask a question of you. How many of you have heard of the Great Commission? 

Those who have heard of it, how many knows what it means?

The reason I ask is that I heard some stats this past week that are a little concerning.

Barna Research came out with this headline in March of 2018 – “51% of Churchgoers Don’t Know of the Great Commission”

heard of great commission

Here are the results.

51% responded no.

6% responded they were unsure.

25% responded Yes, but don’t understand what it is.

17% responded Yes and understand what it is.

This is kind of worrisome. Should Jesus’ last words be our least concern… or our first work? And if it is to be our first work, shouldn’t we know what it is?

Maybe if they would have asked, “Do you know what Matthew 28:18-20 says?”, there would have been a better response. Perhaps they just didn’t know the term…

Regardless it makes me wonder how the “Church” is doing in Bible literacy, let alone Bible engagement. These are two different things.

Bible Literacy

Bible literacy is knowing the Bible. Have you heard the saying, “You can’t draw water from an empty well.”?

The writer of Psalm 119 knew the importance having the Word of God on the inside and putting it into action.

Psalm 119:9–11 (CSB)

How can a young man keep his way pure?

By keeping your word.

10 I have sought you with all my heart;

don’t let me wander from your commands.

11 I have treasured your word in my heart

so that I may not sin against you.

The Apostle Paul tells Timothy:

2 Timothy 3:16–17 (CSB)

16 All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Another way to put it is

2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NLT)

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Bible Engagement

I was listening to a podcast the other day and they mentioned that a ten-year study showed that the number one indicator for spiritual growth was Bible engagement. Basically, this is looking into the Scriptures and applying the precepts to our lives. It is moving from knowing to walking.

The 2019 results indicate this remains true. Half of monthly Bible users (49%) agree their engagement with the Bible has made them feel more willing to engage with their faith.

The following indicates the Bibles impact on relationships that are in the Great Commands (God and Others).

State of the Bible 2019: Trends in Engagement

Knowing the Bible fills our well and puts the Word into us that the Holy Spirit will draw out in ministry. Engaging with the Bible brings applications for our lives to the forefront that demands a response. It deals with how we relate to God and others resulting in us being changed from the inside out.

Looking for a Metric

But how can we measure this change. We can vaguely evaluate it by the fruit from it, but can we tell if we are progressing or regressing?

Today I want to have us self-examine the MARCS of discipleship in our lives. Let’s not get too nervous out there. Let’s create a safe space for each other to take an honest look at ourselves.

Have you ever heard of a gap analysis? How about the expression “Failure is Feedback”? Well that is what we need to keep in mind as we are moving forward today. The end result is that we will be able to see where we need growth.

For you that are familiar with Star Trek this is an assessment like the Kobayashi Maru.

Kobayashi Maru – a term to describe a no-win scenario, a test of one’s character or a solution that involves redefining the problem and managing an insurmountable scenario gracefully.

OK, it’s not really that extreme.

MARCS Disciple Making Assessment

I want to note that this assessment was created by Replicate Ministries. It resulted from the book MARCS of a Disciple written by Robby Gallaty.

As we move through the MARCS Assessment it has five parts. MARCS is an acronym for Missional, Accountable, Reproduceable, Communal, and Scriptural.

Missional – This gets into your mindset. Are you ready to share the gospel? Are you leading others to Christ? Are you concerned and praying for the lost? Are you living out the Great Commission?

Accountable – Who can ask you the tough questions about your marriage and relationships, your spiritual walk, and your alone time and thought life? Who have you given permission to do this?

Reproducible – Who have you helped grow in Christ? Who carries your spiritual DNA?

Communal – This is looking at Biblical Community. How has it impacted your life?

Scriptural – This is the most important piece of the MARCS. It is the foundation that everything else flows from. We must get into the Word until it gets into us. It involves both memorization and application.

So, let’s invest a little time to take the assessment. Suspend any disbelief you might have in the process and play full out. Pretend you are on the honest planet and be transparent. Remember this is a self-assessment, when we share out our answers you can always pass. Don’t overthink your answers, just allow the Holy Spirit to bubble them up.


  1. Download the Assessment
  2. Step through it
  3. Analyze it

Next Actions

Now that you have completed the assessment which areas of the MARCS do you personally need to work on the most?

What actions could you take? What is the next action you will do this week?

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