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Discipleship That Fits
For far too long, the church has tried to make disciples using a one-size-fits-all approach. Some churches advocate 1-on-1 discipling, others try getting everyone into a small group, while still others training through mission trips or service projects. Yet others focus all their efforts on attracting people to a large group gathering to hear biblical teaching and preaching. But does one size really fit everyone?
Based on careful biblical study and years of experience making disciples in the local church, Bobby Harrington and Alex Absalom have identified five key relationships where discipleship happens in our lives. In each relational context we need to understand how discipleship occurs and we need to set appropriate expectations for each context.
Discipleship That Fits shows you the five key ways discipleship occurs. It looks at how Jesus made disciples and how disciples were formed in the early church. Each of the contexts is necessary at different times and in different ways as a person grows toward maturity in Christ:
- Public Relationships: The church gathering corporately for worship
- Social Relationships: Networks of smaller relationships where we engage in mission and live out our faith in community
- Personal Relationships: Small groups of six to sixteen people where we challenge and encourage one another on a regular basis
- Transparent Relationships: Close relationships of three to four where we share intimate details of our lives for accountability
- The Divine Relationship: Our relationship with Jesus Christ where we grow through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit
Filled with examples and stories, Alex and Bobby show you how to develop discipleship practices in each relational context by sharing how Jesus did it, how the early church practiced it, and how churches are discipling people today.
About the Authors
Bobby Harrington is the co-founder of discipleship.org and the founding and lead pastor of Harpeth Christian Church (19 years). He is the chairman of the board for the Relational Discipleship Network and the co-author of DiscipleShift, Dedicated: Training Your Children to Trust and Follow Jesus, and Discipleship that Fits. He has been married to Cindy for over 35 years and they have two adult children who are disciples of Jesus.
Alex is a visionary speaker, consultant, writer and practitioner on mission and discipleship, especially the practicalities of building a movement around missional communities. Originally from England, Alex has served in church leadership for over two decades, and has helped many churches and denominations develop intentional disciple making processes. Married to Hannah and with three sons, the family are part of Grace Church in Long Beach CA, where Alex also leads Dandelion (www.dandelionresourcing.com), an organization that empowers disciple making leaders and churches.
I plan to add this book to my equipping toolbelt because I’m confident it will aid the church in fulfilling the Everyday Commission Jesus has given us. -- Jeff Vanderstelt, visionary leader, Soma Family of Churches
Reading this book was like having a conversation with friends and authors I respect. You are going to find it very useful with your colleagues and members of your congregation. -- Bill Hull, author, Jesus Christ Disciplemaker and Conversion and Discipleship
Presents a simple yet powerful framework for considering the contexts within which discipleship happens. It will help individuals to live more balanced lives and church leaders to be more strategic. -- Todd Wilson, founder and director, Exponential Conference; author of More
Bobby and Alex have done a great job explaining that discipleship happens best and only in relationship. Not only do these guys write about it; they live it out as well. -- Jim Putman, pastor; founder, Relational Discipleship Network; author, DiscipleShift
This book is a winner. Biblically substantial and rich in practical suggestions, it’s a very welcome addition to the growing writings on the essential area of discipleship. -- Alan Hirsch, founder, Future Travelers and 100Movements; author, The Forgotten Ways and The Faith of Leap
Refreshing. Balanced. Biblical. Practical. Thought-provoking. This simple book carries a big punch, from practitioners, not theorists, and has a message we have needed for a long time. -- Neil Cole, author, Ordinary Hero, Organic Church, and Primal Fire
Although Jesus gave us a mandate to make disciples, he didn’t give us a manual. Keep this book handy. It will be a resource you refer to often as you invest in others. -- Robby Gallaty, senior pastor, Long Hollow Baptist Church
The words of Jesus in Matthew 28, “Go make disciples,” mean, “As you are going about living life, make disciple-makers.” Read this book, find your fit, and get on with doing it. -- Dave Buehring, president, Lionshare; author, A Discipleship Journey
A fresh and needed perspective. Bobby and Alex make discipleship more understandable and tangible for every Christian, in every kind of church. Useful and encouraging. -- Dr. Kennon Vaughn, lead pastor, Harvest Church; founder, Downline Ministries
Looking at five contexts for relationships, Bobby and Alex show us how to leverage each for fruitful discipling. This book is one that you will come back to over and over again. -- Dr. Dann Spader, founder, Sonlife and Global Youth Initiative