I have been in various accountability and discipleship groups over the years. Some of these I believe to have been faithful to the Gospel and very helpful to my Christian development. Others, however, I cannot say the same. One thing that I’ve found to be true over the last few years, though, is:
“Everyone’s idea of discipleship is different”
These are the first words on the back cover of this book and they could not be truer. While interest in the topic of discipleship and awareness of the need to actively disciple new believers has been on the rise in the sphere of Evangelicalism over the last few years, it seems that everyone has their own caveats and nuances as to what exactly a disciple is and what the act of discipleship consists of. Surprising to me, there do not seem to be many recent books written on this subject. Thankfully Jonathan Dodson, the author of this book and pastor in Texas, has contributed a helpful resource to begin the discussion of how we can promote discipleship and create new disciples with the Gospel at the center rather than man-centered legalism and rules.
The book consists of three parts: (1) Defining Discipleship, (2) Getting to the heart, and (3) Applying the Gospel. Personally, I found parts 1 and 3 to be the most helpful of the book. In part 1, Dodson seeks to do what I believe has not been done very well recently, namely, give concrete definition to the terms and ideas that he is discussing, especially what “disciple” and “discipleship.”
In part 3, Dodson speaks a lot about the primary importance of community in the act of creating disciples, and groups that he calls “fight clubs.” I could not agree more of this stressing of authentic community as integral in the process of discipleship. It is a hard thing for both the one discipling or the one being disciple to invest yourselves in the lives of others, but true, authentic growth and discipleship does not occur where people are not wiling to get down and dirty and discuss the deep, gritty aspects of life and how the Scriptures and the Gospel applies to all those things.
If you are looking for a book that gives you a detailed outline of how to disciple someone in your church, giving you exact questions to ask and precise steps to follow, then this book is not going to be what you are looking for. However, if you are looking for a book that seeks to define what exactly a disciple and discipleship is, according to the Scriptures, and how the Gospel serves as the center for that discipleship process, then I think this is a very good book for you to get your hands on. You will not be disappointed.
In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank Crossway Publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.