You’re probably familiar with the Pareto principle. In general, the principle states, 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. The takeaway is to focus on the few causes that make the greatest difference.

Three Key Behaviors

When it comes to discipleship, it turns out that a few behaviors make a disproportionate difference. In his book No Silver Bullets, Daniel Im summarizes the results of studies that analyze the effect of behaviors on spiritual maturity. Three behaviors consistently predict a higher score when it comes to measuring spiritual maturity. They are:

  1. Reading the Bible
  2. Attending a worship service at your church
  3. Attending small classes or groups for adults from church, such as Sunday school, Bible study, small groups, Adult Bible Fellowships, etc.

In other words, if you want to grow, it’s important to read the Bible and to get involved in worship and community at a church. Few things matter more than these.

These findings help to cut the clutter. If you want to help people grow, encourage them to focus on reading Scripture and participating in the worship and community life of church.

The Normal Christian Life

Sometimes we look for new insights and approaches that will help people grow. I’m struck by how ordinary the key practices are. I’m also struck by how easy it is to underestimate them.

Do you want a strategy to help people grow? You can add more, but never settle for less than these: get your people into God’s Word, attending public worship regularly, and involved in biblical community.

Never underestimate the basics. We grow by living the ordinary Christian life.