This review, by Dr. Nicholson, has been provided courtesy of Desert Bible Institute (www.desertbibleinstitute.com).
The book Discipleshift by Jim Putman and Bobby Harrington is a well-written, well-organized book that will prove useful not only to the individual who is examining his own life, but also to the pastor who is re-evaluating the vision for his church.
It wasn’t until reading this book that I ever thought of the breakdown of Christians into different categories of development. Of course, I realized that different people were at different levels, but I never really broke it down. That’s exactly what Discipleshift does: It breaks down these different levels showing the church leader how to address the issues of a person in any given category and how to give that person tools so that they can mature in Christ.
There are many books out there that deal with the fundamental issue of raising up a team and training them and then having those team members start their own teams. I occasionally get irritated with authors that point this out in excruciating detail but never tell you how to raise them up or train them. Books like that tell you to pick good leaders, but rarely tell you how to identify them. They tell you that, as a church vision-caster, they have conversations and meetings as they develop, but they only tell you then end result or success story. Discipleshift fills in a number of those blanks.
The book follows a natural development that helps the reader identify the maturity level of Christians by looking for specific tells or dialogue. Once a person’s place is identified the book describes the struggles that person may be facing and how to specifically equip them to better servants of Christ. It then goes through the process of building them up and sending them out to be a leader for others.
Each section of the book has within it with three helpful elements. The first is the “Ask Dr. Coleman” section. Dr. Coleman is a Senior Professor of Discipleship and Evangelism at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He has both his Ph.D. and D.D. and authored one of the seminal evangelical texts “The Master Plan of Evangelism” used in seminaries across the country. Dr. Colman’s unique take on each of these chapters puts the information given into a real-life application that will help readers see both the connections between ideas and the immediate applicability of that information. The second element is a simple summary that allows readers to review and identify key points in the text. Lastly, are the “Stories of Effectiveness” which are motivational narratives about people who have had positive results in the areas discussed.
This book is neither clinical nor meant to pump up the reader to try yet another model for church growth. This simply is a book meant to fill in the gaps so that we, as leaders, can have some practical, applicable tools to get our congregants from newborns in Christ, craving spiritual milk, to a leaders that can equip those around them to be true disciples of Christ.
Trent Nicholson, Ph.D., D.Min.
Desert Bible Institute, President
Dr. Nicholson reviews academic, Christian living, and fiction books for a variety of publishers in an array of formats. He is never paid for any of his reviews. He writes these strictly as a courtesy to his students at Desert Bible Institute and for any other readers that might find his insights valuable. For more reviews or information, visit Dr. Nicholson’s blog at drtnicholson.wordpress.com.
The book for this review was provided free of charge by Zondervan through NetGalley.com. This book was provided without the expectation or requirement of a positive response. Thank you to both the publisher and NetGalley.com for the opportunity to both read your advanced copy and to provide this unpaid evaluation. All opinions in this review reflect the views of the author and not DBI, NetGalley.com, or the publisher.