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Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time Paperback – June 19, 2003

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  • Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time
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  • Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ
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Editorial Reviews


"Why are Christians not more like Christ? With all the evangelism, church growth and discipleship programs both critics and lovers of the church around the world ask, where are the transformed lives? Greg Ogden does not claim all the answers. He does point out one important truth: transformation happens not through programs but through highly accountable, mutually encouraging, Spirit-formed relationships. All those concerned about a 'disciple deficit' will find this not only a must-read but a 'must-practice' book!" (Leighton Ford, President, Leighton Ford Ministries)

"Greg Ogden has a heart for making disciples. He lives it. He speaks it. He writes it. This book is the mind of Greg's heart and, I believe, is a reflection of Jesus' heart and mind. Jesus wants his church to make disciples in a post-Christian world. This book puts the ministry leader and visionary in touch with today's stark reality―it's time for the whole church to get serious about making disciples Jesus' way. This book will help change our church to be in alignment with Jesus' vision and ministry practice." (Gareth Icenogle, Senior Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; author of The Biblical Foundations of Small Group Ministry)

"Greg Ogden supplied us a comprehensive, biblical curriculum in Discipleship Essentials. In his most recent book, Transforming Discipleship, he reveals the foundation and vision. Based on a creative and stimulating triad model, Greg provides a vehicle that will guide the training of leaders who in turn will equip the church and individuals for a life of transformational discipleship. In a refreshingly biblical and realistic manner, Greg sculpts an essential model that goes beyond programs to the intentional development of relationships that are empowered by the Spirit to grow together to become like Jesus." (Michael J. Wilkins, Dean of the Faculty and Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University; author of Following the Master: A Biblical Theology of Discipleship)

"Greg Ogden's first book, The New Reformation, has had a profound influence on my work. And in Transforming Discipleship, Ogden describes the next stage in American Christianity, the change of emphasis from proclamation to demonstration, with great force and clarity. This is a truly important book." (Bob Buford, Founder and Chairman, Leadership Network, and author of Halftime: Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance)

"Greg Ogden presents a model for discipleship that really works. We have also discovered the life-changing dynamic found in groups of three. I enthusiastically recommend that you prayerfully apply the principles shared from the crucible of experience. Transformation awaits!" (Dr. Bob Logan, CoachNet International Ministries)

"I loved this book. Greg has done it again! Based on a solid, unarguable biblical platform, Greg has lifted up the model of multiplication and reproduction for disciples and leaders, which Jesus and Paul embodied in the Scriptures. "Greg's credentials as a local church pastor give both the credibility and the courage to speak a bold hard truth with a soft clarity: that leaders (by their behavior) have lost sight of the call of the church to go and make disciples. More important, he creates a road map for the process. Transforming Discipleship is a transferable training model, based on Jesus' and Paul's unique and similar adaptive styles of leadership and empowerment, that is so simple it is brilliant. "The New Reformation was the biblical mandate to return the ministry to the people of God. Transforming Discipleship is the biblical mandate to grow and empower the people of God coupled with the model to accomplish the task. "Greg has a unique ability to translate the Scriptures so that the reader can see their relevance in today's world and apply them to grow God's people. Transforming Discipleship is a call to action for all church leaders seeking to honor and embody the Great Commission." (Sue Mallory, author of The Equipping Church: Serving Together to Transform Lives)

"After reading Greg Ogden's new book, Transforming Discipleship, the reader is likely to exclaim, 'I can do that!' Greg has cut through the cultural and ministerial fog surrounding this subject and written a persuasive handbook on the priority and process of this essential element. The author's convictions are compelling because he writes out of his own authentic experiencing of the truth whereof he writes. Readers will also recognize this book as eminently practical with helpful explanations of 'whys' and facilitating steps for 'hows.' Finally, through biblical and cultural documentation, Greg has convincingly urged the absolute priority of this focus on transformation in the making of a people who will carry the mission and the message to the next generation. And you can join him in doing that!" (Dr. Julie Gorman, Professor of Christian Formation and Discipleship, Fuller Seminary, Pasadena, California)

"I always love Greg's work! He consistently calls us back to the core practice of the church―making disciples. And here he gives us a proven process that is intensely relational, thoroughly biblical and readily accessible to serious disciplemakers." (Dr. Bill Donahue, Executive Director, Small Group Ministries, Willow Creek Association)

"Greg Ogden draws on his extensive pastoral experience as well as his interaction with many pastors in the Fuller D.Min. classes to provide an extensive range of biblical principles and practical ministry insights. He establishes the foundations for a reproducible model of discipleship. The issue is urgent and widespread in the churches of North America. This is the kind of book to help make a significant difference." (Dr. Eddie Gibbs, Donald A. McGavran Professor of Church Growth, Fuller Theological Seminary)

"While Transforming Discipleship is packed full with good, useful, biblical insights, the two unique features that especially connect with discipleship in a postmodern world are the concepts of triad discipleship and the shift from the hierarchical and authoritative models that dominated discipleship in modernity to 'discipling as a mutual process of peer mentoring.' This work is more biblical and more compelling than anything I have seen to date." (Robert Webber, Myers Professor of Ministry, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary)

"Greg Ogden shook up the world of many of us when he wrote the The New Reformation. Now he brings a similar urgency and clarity to the issue of following Christ. Read it at your own risk." (John Ortberg, Teaching Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church)

"People are built to last. So why is the church still keeping score of its institutional successes rather than tracking the development of disciples? Greg Ogden's insightful suggestions can help a church redesign its scorecard to celebrate transformed lives." (Reggie McNeal, Director of Leadership Development, South Carolina Baptist Convention)

About the Author

Greg Ogden (DMin, Fuller Theological Seminary) recently retired from professional church leadership and now lives out his passion of speaking, teaching and writing about the disciple-making mission of the church. Most recently Greg served as executive pastor of discipleship at Christ Church of Oak Brook in the Chicago western suburbs. From 1998-2002, Greg held the position of director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Fuller Theological Seminary and associate professor of lay equipping and discipleship. Prior to teaching at Fuller, Greg enjoyed twenty-four years in pastoral ministry, primarily within Presbyterian churches, but also as senior pastor at the Saratoga Federated Church in the Silicon Valley, California. While there, he developed a discipleship program used by over 15,000 people and resulting in his book Discipleship Essentials and eventually the Essentials Series. Greg's other books include Unfinished Business and Transforming Discipleship.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 209 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books; 2007 or Later Printing edition (June 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830823883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830823888
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Warren T. Baldwin on September 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of those books you will wish you had read years before. After discussing what discipleship is (helping people to live like Jesus), Ogden gives a detailed overview of the models Jesus and Paul used to disciple people. Jesus' model, very simply, was first to be an example to people. Secondly he would teach them to serve, teach and lead. Thirdly, Jesus became a coach, helping his disciples to actually step out and actively serve. Finally, Jesus delegated all responsibility to the Apostles to go out and carry on the work of the kingdom. This model is one that any servant of Christ today can use to duplicate his/her own faith and ministry in another willing person.

The following statement from the book encapsulates the goal of duplication and discipleship for all Christian leaders : "The tragedy is that most Christian leaders have placed almost no priority on transitional leadership. It is generally fair to say that the effectiveness of one's ministry is to be measured by how well it flourishes after one's departure." (P.96)

Public teaching and preaching will always have its place. But nothing can replace one-on-one teaching, modeling and training. I highly recommend this book.
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This is an excellent book that points very clearly to how the Church has been distracted from effective disciple making. It shows the failings of the "mass production" approaches to discipleship and calls us back to invest the time in relationships. I highly recommend this book. I plan to lead a group through this material because I found it so valuable.
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I would highly recommend this book to pastors and leaders who are desperate to see lives transformed into the likeness of Christ. The book is an easy read and makes sense from beginning to end. It has answered many of my questions about small groups and discipleship and greatly encouraged me.
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Greg Ogden goes against the mega-church grain by promoting a discipleship plan based on one-on-one meetings instead of small groups.

He wants to see church leaders making disciples a few at a time instead of trying to churn out groups of people who have sat through a class.

First, Ogden describes what went wrong and with with The Discipleship Deficit and getting to the root causes.

Next he explains how to use the Bible as a method book in making disciples.

In part 3, he gives us church-based strategies to make disciples.

He is not shy at expressing his disdain for the current fad of Small Groups and he seems to come in conflict with a popular discipleship book called Simple Church.

Within Transforming Discipleship, Ogden explains how the Paul/Timothy model shouldn't be used in churches as that was a special case. Instead, we should employ the Paul/Barnabus model in which we grow together, taking turns.

One of the bright spots in this book came at the very beginning when Ogden explained how our pastor's are too busy doing the work that others should be doing.

Biblically, pastors should only worry about instructing and equipping the church goers; the visitations, pastoral care, etc... should be left up to those who are built up within the congregations and turned out to lead.
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By way of background, I came to Christ and grew up spiritually through a parachurch organization, one described as a discipleship ministry that placed a healthy emphasis on evangelism.

For me this was a tale of two halves: Greg Ogden's analysis of the current state of discipleship and of the biblical mandate and models was nothing new for me personally. It could be helpful for those raised in a church context that did NOT emphasize discipleship.

Part three however was filled with practical tips an insights for how to live out the mandate in the context of a local church. Looking at my copy, I have frequent dogears and highlights in the last section and none whatsoever in the first two part.

Particularly helpful is Ogden's priority of relationship over programs, his emphasis on accountability and mutual responsibility as well as on reproduction, and his suggestion of using a triad (group of three) as opposed to a one-on-one relationship. The benefits he listed of the triad are obvious to me as one who has been involved in many one-on-one discipleship relationships and seen as many misses as hits.

I also love his use of a growth model that is very similar to Henry Cloud's: growth = transparent trust + truth/God's Word + mutual accountability. When comparing a discipleship triad to other venues commonly looked to by Christians to produce real life change (small groups, preaching services, Sunday schools), Ogden makes a very compelling case for the greater potential of these triads.

He says life change takes time, and urges patience in fighting the temptation to go for a little-dab-ll-dooya program. Great advice.

This book is definitely worth some of your time.
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One of the most revealing books on the reasons we have so few transformed lives today. Read this book only if you are truly serious about being an effective discipler and concerned about helping Christians lead transformed lives. Biblically solid and tested methodology explained in a way that will help anyone be more effective in their discipling efforts. If you are looking for just another "program," look elsewhere.
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