Dever, Mark. Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2016. 122 pp. $14.99.
“Will you disciple me?” My guess is that this question strikes fear in the hearts of many. What will I do with them? What should I say? What curriculum should I follow? I don’t have anything to pass along. Mark Dever, in Discipling, seeks to dispel the confusion around discipling and provide a simple pathway for a believer to help a fellow believer follow Jesus. The book is broken into three parts: 1) what is discipling? 2) where should we disciple? and 3) how should we disciple?
In part one, Dever begins by defining discipling as “helping others to follow Jesus by doing deliberate spiritual good to them” (19). Discipling is influencing others for good. This takes place outside the church (e.g. friendship evangelism) and within the church. At its core, discipling is teaching God’s commands, but is intertwined with friendship, correcting, modeling, mutual love, and humility. In other words, discipling another person is a holistic endeavor to help someone follow Jesus and grow spiritually.
In part two, Dever writes, “the local church is at the very center of the disciples’ obedience and discipling work” (57). An indispensable aspect to discipling is the regular ministry of the Word from the pastor to the congregation as well as the congregation’s mutual responsibility to one another.
Then in part three, Dever sets forth the basic steps to begin a discipling relationship. Find someone, have a clearly defined purpose and then make the commitment to give of your time and energy to invest in this relationship. This includes studying and preparing, praying for this individual, love, humility, and perseverance. And finally, Dever shares how a habit and culture of discipling can become a way of raising up leaders who have been given appropriate trust and authority in order to continue serving the church body.
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
Discipling by Dever is one of the simplest and most accessible books on discipling. It is not only a resource for pastors to use themselves, but a great book to pass along to other leaders and individuals in the church. Most pastors and churches recognize the limitation of programs and classes. While important, every believer needs the mutual care, sharpening, and person-to-person ministry of a fellow believer. This may take place in Sunday schools, small groups, and missional communities. Discipling provides the simple roadmap for intimidated believers to walk alongside a fellow believer in following Jesus, regardless of your assimilation or discipleship method at your church.
Discipling casts a vision for a culture of discipling, where every believer not only feels a responsibility for fellow believers but proactively initiates in helping others follow Jesus. This resource includes all the essential information to hand to any believer to encourage them to get off the sidelines and actively seek to help others know and love Jesus more.
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By
Discipling is a great, simple and accessible resource that provides all you need to know to begin a discipling relationship.