In the last few months I have read a number of books on the subject of discipleship, Growing Up: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples by Robby Gallaty is the most recent book I have read.
Gallaty is the senior pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga TN and is the president of Replicate Ministries.
Growing Up begins with a challenging foreword from David Platt who discipled Gallaty. The book is written in a very readable way making it accessible to everyone, while at the same time the message of the book is not compromised and it maintains the weight of the conviction that disciples are to be making disciples.
In the introduction Gallaty says: “I’ve come to realize that when people don’t know what to do, they don’t do anything” (p. xx). This is a sad but very accurate statement regarding so much of the Church today and the lack of understanding of what it means to truly be a disciple of Jesus. This book is going to be an outstanding resource for the Church for years to come, in helping remedy this lack of understanding so many Christians have when it comes to discipleship.
Gallaty strongly encourages discipleship groups of 3-5 people (meeting for 12-18 months) as the optimal environment for making disciples and does a great job in describing what these kinds of groups should look like both functionally and scripturally. Authors like Greg Ogden (Transforming Discipleship) also encourage these kinds groups for effective discipleship to happen in.
Three chapters that really stood out to me were:
- Chapter Six – an incredibly strong chapter on the importance of reading scripture. Gallaty stresses the necessity of God’s Word in a Christian’s life and then unpacks how we go about reading, understanding, and applying it.
- Chapter Seven – is a great chapter on moving beyond simply believing in Jesus, to being a follower of Jesus.
- Chapter Eight – is a convicting chapter on the importance and value of memorizing scripture. This is paramount in the life of a Christian and yet it is rarely encouraged in the church today.
Another feature of the book is that it goes beyond just being a one time read, to being a book that can be used for future study, small groups, and discipleship groups. Each chapter has “Questions to Consider” (which are excellent), and the back of the book is loaded with numerous resources including: Disciple-Making Covenant, Spiritual Journey Inventory, Accountability Questions, and much more.
Growing Up is an excellent addition to the conversation on discipleship for both long time followers of Jesus and brand new Christians. It’s not a call to a new program or a new movement in the Church, it’s a call to remember and live out the mission Jesus Himself gave us when He said “go and make disciples of all nations”.
Here are a few quotes from the book that stood out to me:
“Many Christians are birthed into the family of God and then abandoned. Nobody personally assumes the responsibility of helping them develop and grow. Nobody teaches them the basics of the Christian life, disciplines like Bible reading, prayer, Scripture memory, meditation, sharing one’s faith, or showing the love of Christ to others” (p. 25).
“Every believer should be able to answer two questions. Who am I discipling? And who is discipling me? Every church should be able to answer two questions. Do we have a plan for making disciples? And is it working?” (p. 31).
“You cannot be a true disciple of Christ apart from His Word. You cannot grow as a Christian without the Bible” (p. 86).
“The problem is not with the Architect of the church, nor is it with His plan. The problem lies with leaders of His movement – namely, pastors – and their lack of emphasis on discipleship” (p. 100).