I came across these characteristics of true discipleship within the church in George Barna's Growing True Disciples. Sure has made me rethink what I consider success.
1. Congregants who worship not just on Sundays but every day of the week; not just in the sanctuary but wherever they are.
2. Constant efforts by the laity to discover new insights into their faith and to convert that in formation into personal application.
3. Complete submission to the Holy Spirit in both decision-making and behavior.
4. Hearts that are sensitive to sin and wounded every time we do something that offends God.
5. Individuals who joyfully share their resources—time, money, skills, information, relationships, possessions—with those in need, especially those who share a love of Christ and a commitment to people.
6. A deep commitment to building a lasting and life-changing community among those who profess Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
7. Demonstrating selfless compassion toward those in need of emotional, physical, financial, or spiritual assistance.
8. Engagement in “organic evangelism” – the process of sharing one’s faith in Christ in very natural and unforced ways, based on relationship with the recipients of the information and supported by lifestyle modeling.
9. People who live differently than the norm because of their faith, leading lives that conform to the dictates of Scripture without cutting corners or trying to interpret biblical passages for personal comfort or advantage.
10. A church body that projects (and lives up to) an image of being loving, caring, focused and clear-minded in its pursuit of God.
11. Individuals who are continually linked to God through prayer and meditation, as if they were “online” 24 hours a day with ultimate spiritual power.
12. Believers who take the initiative to use their gifts, skills, and training for the benefit of their church, without having to be cajoled into serving.