Most Christians have heard those last few verses of Matthew,
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
But I have been wondering, how many of us know how to make disciples. Over the years I have seen and heard many demonstrations on sharing the Gospel, but the idea of making disciples has been a vague one. Jesus spent three years with His disciples, teaching them in their small group, and also while teaching the masses. But I’ve often wondered what did He specifically teach them and how were they prepared to go out and do all that they did, taking the Gospel throughout Israel and the world.
It’s been a roadblock to me, until now. The Gentle Art of Discipling Women by Dana Yeakley is the first book I finished reading this month (February 2017). I’ve been working through the book for a couple of months, as I found that I wanted to dig deep with this one. The subtitle summed up what I’ve been missing in my own life…nurturing authentic faith in myself and others.
Recently I was with a small group, and we were asked if any of us have ever been “discipled,” taken systematically through Scripture in a small group or one to one. It was a thought provoking question and most of us answered NO! Besides solid Biblical teaching from the pulpit most of us have not been taught the systematic basics of new life in Christ, and further, in a one to one or small group. And most of us were unsure on just how to “make disciples.” Yet discipleship is a responsibility of every Christ follower.
This book, The Gentle Art of Discipling Women is a strong introduction to what discipleship looks like, and how to do it. As is the case so often, I found in the first half of the book, Be a Disciple, that I needed to grow and find the bridge between discipled and ready to disciple. According to the book, there are four key building blocks to being well grounded and ready to minister to other women. It was good to take the time to go through each, to look for gaps in my understanding and to also formulate questions for further study.
We are Forgiven – Christ died for sins, once and for all. Once we have accepted this gift of grace, it is done. We are forgiven.
We are Safe – Through faith you are kept safe by God’s power. In Him our future is secure, and day to day we can trust Him.
We have Access – It is through Him that we both (whether far off or near) now have access by one Spirit to the Father so that we are able to approach Him.
We are Becoming – Christ has begun a good work in us, and will continue that work in us until we see Him in glory.
Each of these topics, or keys are explored deeply with characters in Scripture and thought provoking questions, while keeping things simple.
The second half of the book, Make a Disciple, covered everything from the how to the what in making disciples. It is my plan to pair what I’ve learned with this book with meeting an older woman from our congregation to further prepare in this most important endeavor.
It’s pretty early in the year to say this, but this might have been the most important book I read this year. It’s life changing for me.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network, in exchange for my review. All thoughts expressed in this post are mine.