Friday, November 12, 2010

Review - Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual

I recently reviewed "Real-Life Discipleship" and here take a look at the companion "Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual" by Putnam, Willis, Guindon and Krause through NavPress. The subtitle, 'Equipping Disciples Who Make Disciples' sums up the purpose of the book. Their approach is to reform the small group ministry within a church. It seeks to help small group leaders develop as a discipler with their head, heart and hands - learning what a disciple is and how they grow, becoming an intentional leader in the process.

The term 'training manual' is an apt description - this is no casual small group study. The manual lays out twelve key topics spanning twelve weeks, and each member will need to spend 20-30 minutes a day for five days a week in preparation outside of small group time. There is a leader's guide in the back which helps the group leader to plan and work out a 90 minute study that includes shepherding, vision casting, discussion, coaching, application and practice.

Topics include: the heart of a discipler, what is a disciple, how disciples grow, three keys to making a disciple, how to be an intentional leader, a closer look at a relational environment, a closer look at the reproducible process, being intentional with the spiritually dead and spiritual infants (Share), helping spiritual children grow (Connect), helping young adults help others (Minister), being intentional with spiritual parents (Disciple), and a tool for study called storying.

The Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual is a practical workbook that would be ideal to first apply as a pastor with small group leaders. I don't get the sense it's intended for direct use within a typical small group with a mix of spiritual infants, children and spiritual young adults or parents. If your team can make the commitment to study and discuss the discipleship process laid out here, it would likely be of great benefit to your church. The question that remains in my mind even after reading the manual - how do you actually pull this off with a mixed bag of small group members who feel their lives are already out-of-control busy?

If discipleship is important to you, do check out the Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual and companion hardcover Real-Life Discipleship.

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".


Josh Turansky said...

Good review. I saw one guys who said he thought this was the second best book to the Bible. I don't get the sense that you hold this strong a view. :-) I'm going to pass it along to my pastor. He teaches our Discipleship class and would be interested in it.

Larry Baxter said...

Hi Josh, thanks! Wow, that's some pretty high praise from the other reviewer :) I liked the book, but have also read really good ones like Robert Coleman's classics 'The Master Plan of Evangelism' and 'The Master Plan of Discipleship' and other discipleship books by Eims, Ogden, Hull, Stetzer and Barna.

I definitely did like Real-Life Discipleship and the Training Manual, and see how they are great tools for helping people committed to discipling to know how to do so, but I'm still a bit at a loss for how to convince the bulk of your conversation that this is vital, or how to convince them to find/make time for this pretty intense approach to disciplemaking. I sure hope your pastor enjoys the book and gets some great ideas out of it! -- Larry