Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review - Disciple

Bill Clem's book "Disciple: Getting Your Identity from Jesus" is a little hard to describe. The foreword poses questions like "What is a disciple? What is their identify? Where is their community? What is their mission?" It then says the author does a "masterful job of answering these and other questions about what Jesus intended when he told us to make disciples. Then for the next 90 pages we read about the story of God, the nature of the Trinity (and the community found therein), the basis of redemption, the nature of Christ, missional living, the image of God common to all humans, mystery and wonder, our broken world, and identify distortions. Only then does he unpack the disciple as worshiper, the disciple in community, the disciple on mission. This is both the strength and weakness of the book. If you're looking for a clear and concise definition of a disciple and a detailed plan for making disciples, that's just not the goal of this book. On the other hand, if you're looking for a deeper treatment of what it really means to be a disciple, the biblical basis for who are we as a disciple, and how we live in the image of Christ when we worship, when we live in community, and when we join God in His mission, this is the book for you.

The main section of the book looks at those three key aspects of being a disciple: worship, community and mission. For each there is a chapter describing God's intention for the disciple, and another chapter looking at common distortions of each. The book concludes with a chapter on the plan for living as disciples and the plan for making disciples (multiplication). Even here Clem takes a strongly different approach from most how-to books on discipleship. The plan starts not with common basics of becoming a disciple, but rather with overcoming hurdles such as habitual sin, debilitating mindsets, and priority management. Overall I found it very interesting, though at times hard to follow. Disciple will be a very challenging and possibly difficult read for many, but a breath of fresh air on the subject for others.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Amazon for this review as part of their Vine 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".


Robby Gallaty said...


I found your blog because of your review of Real Life Discipleship. I have a similar book coming out in November about discipleship and was wondering if you would be interested in reviewing it?

My name is Robby Gallaty and the title of my book is: Growing Up: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples. After surrendering my life to Christ in 2002, I was presented with the opportunity to be discipled by David Platt, New York Times best selling author of Radical and Follow Me, who wrote the foreword.

You can learn more about my book at or visit Amazon:

Many people have graciously endorsed the book already: Kay Arthur, Robert Coleman, Jerry Vines, Eric Geiger, Ed Stetzer, Tim Brister, John Ankerberg, J.D. Greear, Bill Hull, Greg Ogden, Johnny Hunt, Larry Osborne, Derwin Gray, Chris Adsit, Russell Moore, Danny Akin, Sam Rainer, Bobby Harrington, Tony Merida, and Clayton King.
I can email you a digital copy of my book. Thanks in advance for considering.


Larry Baxter said...

Robby, I was tempted to say my schedule has not allowed me to keep up as much as reading as I would like, but after checking out your website about the book, it simply looks too critical to the life of the Church to pass up :) I would love to review a copy of Growing Up. My email: stepuptothecall at
Thanks, and best wishes! - Larry