Thursday, 30 December 2010

Real-life Discipleship

I have just read a book which has made me so excited that I have underlined scores of sentences, jotted notes in the margins and bookmarked numerous pages with tiny post-it notes. Real-life Discipleship, by Jim Putman. Having said that, the ideas the book offers of living out the Christian faith are nothing new. Biblically based ideas of developing the Christian life have not changed much over the ages. Yet this book is one of the most encouraging I have read for some time. Becoming and making disciples is essential to the Christian life and so Jim shows, and reminds, us of how we should do this.
The book summarises the key features of the discipleship process: this is not only intentional and relational but also strategic: we can all learn how to make disciples. While being familiar with the idea that spiritual growth leads us from being like children in the faith to becoming adults, Jim shows these in a spiritual growth wheel, elaborating on the typical characteristics, beliefs, behaviour, attitudes and actions of each stage in the discipleship process. This was extremely helpful: not only was I able to identify where others are in their spiritual journey, I was also challenged as I recognised immature characteristics in myself, which I had thought were long gone.
One idea, new to me, is that of Bible storytelling: a highly interactive method of studying the Bible which, along with learning Biblical truth, helps develop disciples into leaders.
This is an intensely practical handbook. It has encouraged me to continue seeking to help others grow through the context of small groups and, were I a church leader, I would want to adopt the ideas suggested. Being part of a small group which seeks to grow disciples into mature believers is not necessarily the only way to maturity – witness the lives of some of the great saints – but, for many, it is an essential part of the Christian life. Real-life Discipleship is a superb resource.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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