In the past decade, the conversation surrounding discipleship has exploded. At first, this conversation was directed towards how disciples of Jesus could engage the culture. Then a shift occurred as this conversation split off into two camps. One went the way of progressive liberal Christianity and another went into conservative biblical Christianity. Dr. Dever is known as a staunch defender of biblical orthodoxy and has labored for many years to help Christians be good church members and for pastors to learn how to engage in pastoral ministry biblically. His latest book Discipling: How To Help Others Follow Jesus is a very helpful treatment on the subject that will help readers learn the who, what, where, when, why, and how of discipleship, all to help others follow Jesus.
The book is broken down into three parts with three questions leading each section. In part one, the author considers, “What is discipling?” by looking at the place of influence, being others focused, the work of discipleship, and objections to discipleship. Each chapter is a short reflection looking at the topic from a biblical and practical perspective. His overarching goal with the book is to “help you understand biblical discipling and to encourage you in your obedience to Christ. Biblical discipling is helping others to follow Jesus by doing deliberate spiritual good to them. And biblical discipling largely occurs in and through churches” (19).
Part two helpfully explores the question, “Where should we disciple?” by considering the place of the local church, and pastors and members. To some people, this may seem not needed at all. After all, they believe in the place of the local church in the life of the Christian and rightly so. Sadly we are living in a day when many Christians think they don’t need the local church at all. They think they can go to a coffee shop and have church. While there’s nothing wrong with having a Bible study at a coffee shop to call this church isn’t biblical. Here in this section, he wants Pastors and church members to understand their place in discipleship and to actively pursue relationships with one another for the purpose of growing together in God’s grace.
Part three considers the question, “How should we disciple?” Here the author helps us to pick someone to disciple, to have clear aims, to count the cost, and to raise up leaders. The appendix offers great books on disciplining others that will help for further study and reflection on the issue.
Discipling How To Help Others Follow Jesus is a great short book full of biblical and practical advice that will help mature Christians to help disciple, new believers. Every Christian is a learner, a disciple of Christ. Whether we are in a vocational role or a lay leader role in the church, or everywhere in-between, we all need to be engaged in the work of discipleship. Reading Discipling How To Help Others Follow Jesus will help Christians learn to do this well from one whose been disciplining others for many decades. I highly recommend this book and believe it will help and benefit every reader who considers the message that lies therein.