I sense a new focus is emerging — especially among some younger American pastors and ministry leaders — on the importance of making disciples. Sadly, the American Church has experienced an epic failure of discipleship in recent decades. But I have this sense that as the Lord Jesus prepares to return for His Church, He is going to call His people back to the centrality of obeying the Great Commission. Indeed, several interesting new books are out or are coming out that focus on the importance of discipleship.
- This week, the new book that I wrote with Dr. T.E. Koshy — The Invested Life: Making Disciples of All Nations One Person At A Time — was released nationwide.
- Last November, Pastor Hanna Shahin (a Palestinian Arab Christian who used to run TransWorld Radio’s Arab language division) released a wonderful book entitled The Master Disciple-Maker for which I was honored to write an endorsement.
- On November 1st, Pastor Francis Chan is releasing a book he wrote with Mark Beuving entitled Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples.
- On February 5th of next year, Pastor David Platt is releasing a book entitled Follow Me: A Call To Die. A Call To Live.
I’m encouraged by these books coming out now and in the next few months. And I’m intrigued by the fact God has put this message on hearts of younger authors. Francis, David and I are relatively young. Francis and I are in our mid-forties. David is in his mid-thirties. Perhaps this is a signal of a generational shift in emphasis from mass evangelism (which is still important) to more balance between evangelism and personal, one-on-one and small group disciple-making. For most of my life, I’ve heard pastors and ministry leaders talk about the importance of evangelism and world missions. Amen. But I haven’t seen much of an emphasis on understanding what a disciple is or how to make one. I think this is starting to change. I certainly hope so. Of Hanna Shahin’s book I wrote, “Making disciples is the heart of the Great Commission. Yet today, so few Christians really know what it means to make a disciple, much less have any fruit to show for it. How sad is this! What are people going to say when they get to heaven and have never made a single disciple? God bless Hanna Shahin, therefore, for writing this book! His love for God’s Word and for teaching people how to obey it shines through on every page. There is no formula for making disciples, but the principles Hanna lays out from the Scriptures and his own practical experience- — especially in North Africa and the Middle East — will help anyone seeking to obey the Great Commission in this generation.” I’m looking forward to Francis’ and David’s books, as well.
In this context, I would love to see each of you get involved in this emerging national conversation. Please blog and Facebook and email and tweet about the importance of discipleship. Let’s share with each other our answers to these questions: 1) Who is investing in you? 2) Who are you investing in? 3) Are you living the invested life? 4) How are you living in the invested life? 5) What works and what doesn’t? I’d encourage you to post your reviews of these books (and similar ones) on Amazon and the Barnes & Noble site and other book sites. I’d encourage you to publish reviews (good ones and critical ones) of these and similar books and your views on the topic in Christian newsletters, websites, magazines and other publications. Consider inviting your small group Bible study, and home fellowship group, and Sunday School class, etc to do an in-depth study on the who/what/when/where/why/and how of discipleship. Pastors, consider preaching a series on what the Great Commission is, why is matters, and how to obey it. Now is the time to stoke a national conversation — and a global one — about discipleship. This, I believe, is the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I think He will be pleased as we reexamine and rediscover the Great Commission that He gave us.
- You can find The Invested Life: Making Disciples of All Nations One Person At A Time onAmazon’s Kindle.
- You can also find The Invested Life on Barnes & Noble’s Nook.
- You can also find The Invested Life in many other Christian and general market bookstores.