07 Resources



What role do resources play in addressing a church’s need to make discipleship a personal and corporate priority? What do pastors, leaders and disciples think of the resources currently available?

Most churches value discipleship materials enough to account for them in their budgets. On average, churches allocate 21 percent of their budget to discipleship; this may include leadership time leveraged against discipleship activities and administration, as well as allocation for resources. This is fairly consistent across different types of churches and leaders.

There is solid demand for discipleship materials: Six in 10 church leaders believe it is “very valuable” for someone to be involved in a systematic curriculum or program of discipleship (59%), and another one-third says it is “somewhat valuable” (34%). The preference for a structured curriculum is higher in majority black churches (80% say curriculum is “very valuable”) than in white (56%).

Few church leaders—only one in five—suggest there is a need for more or better materials and resources for discipleship (21%); about as many as say there are too many resources (19%). In contrast, about half of exemplar leaders express a need for new and more resources. However, many exemplars say they prefer to write their own curriculum tailored to their congregation, and that there is “nothing better than the Book.”

While Navigators is not the first organization church leaders or Christian adults think of in terms of discipleship resources, Navigators materials enjoy a very good reputation among those who have used them. One-quarter of leaders say their church has used a Navigators discipleship curric- ulum at some point (27%), and 17 percent of Christians report having used a Navigators program.

Awareness of Organizations

Church leaders list a broad range of authors and ministries they most associate with discipleship. Navigators and LifeWay top the list, with approximately 6 percent mentioning these unaided. Other top responses include Francis Chan, Rick Warren/Saddleback Church, Andy Stanley, David Platt, Max Lucado, John Macarthur/Grace to You and Dallas Willard.

Non-Navigators discipleship resources mentioned include materials from Bible Study Fellowship, Cru/Campus Crusade and Daily Bread. Specific books and authors mentioned include:

• Mark Dever, 9 Marks of a Healthy Church
• Robert Coleman, Master Plan of Evangelism
• Jim Putman, Real-Life Discipleship
• Colin Marshal, The Trellis and the Vine
• Francis Chan, Multiply

Christian adults think of very few ministries, pastors or authors; most refer to general resourc- es: “my church” or “the Bible.” Mentioned unaided by more than one percent are Billy Graham, Joyce Meyer, Charles Stanley and Joel Osteen.

Among a list of 10 discipleship organizations, the most commonly recognized is Promise Keepers, with nearly universal recognition among church leaders (92%) and 39 percent of Christian adults familiar with the name. FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), Cru (formerly Campus Crusade) and InterVarsity are familiar to most church leaders and a handful of Christians. Seven in 10 church leaders (72%) and one in seven Christians (15%) are familiar with The Navigators. The remaining five organizations are familiar to fewer than half of all church leaders and only a few Christian adults.

Impressions of Organizations

Among Christian adults familiar with each organization, impressions are most positive for Bible Study Fellowship (53% “very positive”) and FCA (46%). Church leaders have relatively similar perceptions of organizations mentioned, with Navigators near the top in favorable impressions.

Owning the Discipleship Space

Among Christian adults who have used Navigators resources, about half consider the two most commonly used, the Life Change Series and Studies in Christian Living, “very helpful.” Other Navigators resources used receive similar reviews from Christians.

About three in 10 church leaders consider each of the Navigators resources “very helpful” and just over half say they are “somewhat helpful.” Topical Memory System is considered most helpful among leaders who have used the program (35% very helpful).

Despite relatively healthy impressions of Navigators among Christians, there is a significant gap when it comes to associating Navigators with discipleship. Only 8 percent of Christian adults say Navigators is the best in this area. They are more likely to say Bible Study Fellowship (31%) or Promise Keepers (25%) are closely associated in their minds with discipleship.

However, Navigators comes out on top among church leaders, with one-quarter of pastors (26%) and discipleship leaders (27%) selecting this organization as “best at enabling discipleship.” Thus, Navigators enjoys a healthy positioning with leaders, but has room to grow its reputation among the broader Christian audience.

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