From Strangers to Family: A Metric for Discipleship

people_fence rgbstock tzooka

Tim Brister asks:

“How many non-Christians do you know on a first-name basis? How many of them would consider you a friend? What percentage of your relationship investments is with those who do not know Jesus Christ? How accessible are you to those in your world who do not know God?

If the members of our church cannot, off the top of their heads, list 3-5 unbelievers they know, then we have missional atrophy. If the overwhelming percentage of relationship investments of church members are with other Christians, then it has become ingrown.

If there are not pathways for pursuing those far from God in our lives, then we have put the Great Commission on the shelf to collect dust.”

Not satisfied to merely point out the shortcomings of many churches and Christians, Brister gives a big picture plan for making disciples of Jesus Christ. He details a strategy of moving people from strangers to family, in these steps:

  1. Strangers
  2. Neighbors
  3. Acquaintances
  4. Friends
  5. Family

By evaluating how many strangers have become neighbors, how many neighbors I now consider acquaintances, etc., I can measure how effective I am in the disciple-making process.

“Where there is no movement to go deep in the community, we will relegate the Great Commission to the swapping of sheep instead of making new disciples of Jesus.”

This article challenged me, and I think it will do the same for you. Be sure to read the full article.

Bonus: Brister followed up that post with 5 Simple Ways to Move People from Strangers to Missionaries.

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**image courtesy of tzooka via

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