In October 2021, Barna and Gloo, in partnership with For Columbus, gathered leaders from the church, para-church, and marketplace to hear about some interesting research on the state of the church in our city. Ed Stetzer gave a rousing talk on cultural trends and a biblical response; new data about the Black church lent helpful perspective and complexity to the discussion; the continued toll of pandemic life was analyzed. But no data or research stuck out more to me than the point David Kinnaman emphasized: “People want the church to provide whole-life discipleship.”
My interest was piqued right away, and questions began swirling. What does whole-life discipleship look like practically? What would pastors in our city think? What are strengths and weaknesses of “whole-life discipleship” in our own backyard? Are there bright spots we could look to for guidance in doing this well? After all, “Go into all the world and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:18-20) was literally the last command Jesus left to his own disciples before ascending to the Father. We had big data giving us hard numbers on certain aspects of discipleship in our community, but the absence of individual stories and voices was palpable.
Hear more from Rachel about the state of discipleship in Columbus and how we can get involved in God’s mission to make disciples!