What is the greatest necessity within the church today? If I were to answer that question, my response would be the lack of discipleship. Churches have become institutions of affiliations instead of institutions of convictions. Without a firm foundation in the Word of God, what could be a family of individuals who, while different in personality, share a like-mindedness in orientation and goals, are more likely to abandon both the Lord and the church body. Why is this the case? Because Biblical convictions serve as a reminder of who we serve and why which direct the paths of believers towards the same goal and ideology. The result is a unity unmatched by any worldly institution. However, the lack of discipleship leaves our churches without a body of believers who know what they believe. Thus, discipleship serves a vital role within the church.
As a personal testimony, my first six years as a believer were almost immobile. It wasn’t until six years later, under the leadership of a new pastor, did my life start to change. I cringe to think how much of a difference those six years could have made if they had more heavily invested in personal growth for the glory of God. In no way, can I blame anyone else as I alone am ultimately responsible to God for my time invested in Him and my personal growth. However, it took someone else to show me what I didn’t know I needed and from that, I learned a valuable lesson: discipleship is important in the Christian walk.
Shortly after the Lord’s transformation really began to take hold someone turned me towards J. Oswald Sanders Spiritual Discipleship. Part of a trilogy with Spiritual Leadership and Spiritual Maturity, Sanders unleashes a catalog of biblical wisdom. This year, Moody Press has taken on the task of reformatting each of the books for a new release. In this particular book, Sanders tackles true discipleship. He writes not to give a guide to the mechanics of discipleship, but instead discusses the standards of discipleship and thus the standards of the disciple.
Those standards make up the bulk of the book, although he does start out addressing the concepts of what discipleship is, what a disciple is, and what it looks like (again not, the mechanics, but the evidences and tests of discipleship as he calls it). One will read about topics such as servanthood, love, ambition, amidst a host of other topics that we would expect to be covered in a book like this. However, J. Oswald Sanders doesn’t write simply. Believers will be immensely challenged by the words that Sanders brings forth. He places a high value on the Lord’s calling for believers, and that is reflected in his ability to biblically compel readers to more godly lifestyle, not merely for the sake of being good, but for the sake of being of God.
Truthfully, to confess my personal bias here, since my initial reading of Spiritual Discipleship
, I have long considered it to be required reading for any Christian (in conjunction with the other books in the trilogy). That recommendation has not changed. This is a book not merely for leadership or those who are wanting to engage in some sort of formal discipleship, this is a book for all believers. Sanders is a good, biblical communicator that Christians can benefit from.
To purchase a copy of Spiritual Discipleship click here. This book comes as part of a trilogy that includes Spiritual Leadership and Spiritual Maturity which can be purchased as a set by clicking here.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no cost to me for the purpose of review. However, my review was not influenced in any way by outside sources and instead is the result of my own response to the reading of the book.