on November 9, 2012
The beauty of multiply is not in its unique approach to discipleship, its discovery of a hidden facet of training up strong followers of Jesus, or even in its back to basics approach. The beauty of the book is found in how easy it is to repeat with others.
One of the other reviewers, who was basically positive, mentioned that this was no different from Sunday school curriculum. In a lot of ways, he is correct. The difference is that this isn't dependent on a lay-leader or "Christian professional" to use. If used properly, it can be a powerful tool in the hands of your everyday church attender.
How we are trained is often the way that we will train others. If you were trained in a Sunday school, than you will, most likely, bring your neighbor to church and let someone else train him up or tell him about Jesus. With multiply, you could (and should), have your disciplee begin discipling someone on the first part of the book before you are even done going through it with them. They should, in turn, encourage the person that they are discipling to do the same. This has the potential to create a culture of discipleship whereby it spreads as a way of life instead of a forced program. That, I think, is the true power of the book. You don't need to reinvent the wheel and write your own discipleship study or train 10 guys on how to do discipleship. The book provides all the tools necessary (especially when coupled with the website) to equip someone to disciple another person. Even if the person you are discipling isn't done with the book, they are equipped to wrestle through the first few sections. By the time that you have finished going through it with them, you are in a position to monitor and assist them as they go through it with someone else. You learn by teaching/doing, and they do the same. Doing this doesn't pigeonhole discipleship as a job for the professionals, the pastors, or the teachers - it puts discipleship in the hands of every person.
The book covers the basics of what people need to do know about the nature of discipleship (what it means to follow Jesus), the Bible, and the church. Right off the bat, I have to give kudos to Chan for including a section on the church. One of the downfalls of so many discipleship materials produced over the last few decades is a glaring omission of anything related to the church.
All the material is available for free on their website, multiplymovement. This is comforting to me because it gives proof to the point that they aren't trying to make money by getting as many books purchased as possible (with a discipleship method reliant on their book). You can download the pdf chapters and print them out at your leisure, watch leadership videos, and even stream Chan reading his book to you - all for free. Incredible.
Too Long Didn't Read Version: Multiply is great because it puts discipleship on the bottom shelf, not by diminishing the depth of content, but by making it accessible to everyone - not just pastors/leaders. I truly believe that this could be a discipleship tool that anyone could use to disciple another person with little preparation beforehand.
on June 5, 2013
Francis Chan, author of the influential books Crazy Love and Erasing Hell, has written Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples for the purpose of multiplying disciples in the church.
The book has some excellent material; however, I was disappointed in the book, because it was not what I expected. I downloaded the book and read it on my Kindle, deceived by the title into thinking it was about how to make disciples. While the introduction and first three chapters (about 40 pages) discuss how to use the book for discipleship, that's about it. The rest of the book is an overview of the teachings of the Bible.
Don't misunderstand me. The overview of the Bible is excellent. It's well-written, and has good support material with questions for discussion and videos available to watch online. If you are a mature Christian, you will find very little new information here, but it is a good, solid summary of what the Bible teaches. If a person goes through this material with a new believer, that person will be very well-founded in a biblical worldview.
It was hard to know how many stars to give this book, because it deserved four or five stars as a book on the basics of Christianity, but only two or three stars as a book on how to do discipleship.
The bottom line: if you are looking for material for an in-depth teaching of the basics of Christianity for a small group or one-on-one, this is a great book. But if you are looking for a book on how to organize your church for the purpose of multiplying disciples, you will probably find more help elsewhere, such as "Real Life Discipleship" by Jim Putman or "Growing Up" by Robby Gallaty.
on November 25, 2012
Francis Chan has become a voice in my own life for passionate pursuit of Jesus and deep commitment to reading the Scriptures. Together with Mark Beuving, Chan dives into the important topic of discipleship with MULTIPLY: DISCIPLES MAKING DISCIPLES. MULTIPLY is more than just a book; it is a series of study sessions designed to walk believers through God's plan for discipleship and making new disciples. The book is all about encouraging believers to be the kind of disciples who make more disciples because this is the mandate that Jesus left us with.
Chan launches into the book with an exploration of what a disciple is and the kind of heart the disciple is to have. It's a beautiful journey through what it means to love and follow Jesus and being an example to other people of what that looks like. The second part of the book covers the vital need for the disciple to be a part of a faith community and the role of the church in the world for making disciples. Part three walks believers through how to study the Bible for themselves and understand it. Finally, the book gives an overview of the Bible's overall narrative.
MULTIPLY is a much-needed resource for helping Christians understand their biblical calling in life. The book states at the beginning that this material isn't merely to be read, but to be taught. Chan and Beuving clearly desire to encourage Christians to be disciples and make more disciples, carrying on Jesus' work in their lives. MULTIPLY is one book that needs to be in the hands of every believer.
Review copy provided by David C. Cook
on July 16, 2013
I am using Multiply in a small discipleship group I am leading at my church. I want to state at the outset that I have nothing but the greatest admiration for both of these leaders and their heart for building the kingdom. I really think they are on the right track in working to re-orient the church to more closely conform to the original kingdom building focus of the earliest church. I do have a criticism, however.
Recently these leaders have come under fire in certain circles for representing what one pastor calls "the new legalism." This accusation is founded on the argument that the call to "radical" Christianity raises a bar that is too high for the average Christian to achieve. I reject this because; if we buy Paul's theology of mystical union ("It is no longer I who live, but Christ live in me." Gal. 2:20) then we have to admit that there is no bar that the life of Christ in us cannot surpass. Yes, we are called outside of the norms expected of life in the post-Enlightenment West and yes we are called far from our comfort zone. But this has been the nature of Christ's call from the very beginning. If we are truly living the life of Christ, how could we expect our lives to be anything but "radical?"
But as we are working our way through the first chapter of their book Multiply we cannot help but come away with the idea that the authors' understanding is that every individual member of the church is being called to evangelize. This is based on the Great Commission. Jesus commands his followers to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Mt. 28:19 ESV). And you certainly cannot deny that Jesus intended his followers to spread his message to the ends of the earth.
The problem I have with this interpretation is that it contains at least the insinuation that Jesus is here addressing individual Christians. And of course this has been and continues to be a huge stumbling block for the Western church. We are hindered by the Enlightenment elevation of the individual over the community, to the point that in the West we have no real conception of community. I think on one level Chan and Platt know this because they are careful to point out that disciple makers must do so in the context of community membership. But I would like to propose that if we reconsider the nature of Jesus' call we can also reconsider how we are to respond to it.
What if, rather than imagining Jesus addressing a disparate group of individuals, we assume that Jesus was addressing the seeds of his church? The rest of it falls easily into place: mystical union, the image of the church as the body of Christ with individual Christians as members, (i.e., hands, feet, eyes). To suppose that Jesus was telling all of his followers to be evangelists would be the same as imagining telling all members of the body to do the work of the eye: to see. That's just silly.
And I point to the same scripture Chan and Platt point to in supporting their claim: Ephesians 4. Read verses 11 through 16 carefully and you have to agree that Paul is not calling each individual to the same task. Rather, quite the opposite. He points out the diversity of gifts in the body that make it possible for the whole body to come to perfection and do Christ's work of love.
We see this again in scripture in chapter 6 of Acts where seven were chose to serve so that the Apostles could continue to preach. The work of the seven, we can assume, did not involve direct evangelism, but their focus on the more mundane aspects of church administration made the work of evangelism possible. So we should acknowledge that not everyone in the body is called to direct evangelism, but all are called to make evangelism possible.
Now this is why I think it's important to make this distinction. Many new believers are terrified of this aspect of the faith, and many more ought to be. For most, I think, the idea of evangelism or disciple making conjures up images of standing on the street with signs or knocking on doors looking for converts. I'm not sure that this kind of "evangelism" is ever very successful; I'm pretty sure that Jesus didn't call on his followers to be seen as nut jobs and pests. He does call on all of his followers to reflect his love. But he doesn't call on that many to preach. That's what I meant when I wrote that more people ought to be terrified of preaching; because the example of fired-up but woefully immature disciples making bad examples of the body of Christ tends to do more to detract from the gospel message than to build the kingdom.
The last thing I want to point out here is that I am in no way suggesting we ought to see the timidity of some to be identified with Jesus as an acceptable norm for the church. Whether we are called to preach or evangelize or to serve in some other way we are all called to lead lives that are (dare I say it?) radically at odds with the raging paganism we live in the midst of. If we are disciples of Jesus, precisely because of the mystical union with Christ that Paul points to, precisely because our lives are no longer ours but the real life of Christ on earth, we will not be able to be silent about it. Our lives will speak the gospel in the language that Jesus himself used: love.
So, kudos to Messrs. Chan and Platt for their devotion to the kingdom and their radicalism. May God bless all of their efforts, so that the church can become the perfected body of Christ, with each indispensable member properly adding to his work of restoration.
on June 26, 2013
I ordered this book with the hopes of it helping me get a youth discipleship program off the ground. I am actually using the books tag line for our program: "Disciples making disciples." I am a big fan of Chan because he is very readable, biblically sound, and ministerially adept. I want to review the book in 3 sections; the first section will focus on the book as a whole, while sections 2 & 3 will focus on Strengths and weaknesses, and a conclusion respectively.
Multiply begins with a well thought out section on how to use the book for discipleship. Chan and Beuving will follow their criteria here, throughout the book. Here's how Chan puts it: "The goals of the Multiply material are to help you understand Scripture and to give you the tools to disciple others in this process (Multiply, 9)." Chan offers sections covering weekly meetings, weekly videos, and weekly study guides. The book is divided into 5 parts; the first is living as a disciple maker, followed by living as the church, then how to study the bible, and finished with understanding the two testaments (Old and New). The last chapter is how to apply the material to the readers life.
If you have ever read any Francis Chan books (Crazy Love, Forgotten God, Erasing Hell, etc.) you know they are very readable and deeply rooted in Scripture. Multiply is no different. In fact, this is probably one of his most theological books to date. Chan is also a master of the biblical story line, stretching from the Old testament to the New, and he is on full display in Multiply. His desire to direct his readers towards a closer relationship with Christ through a close study of scripture is unparalleled in a lot of famous Christian authors. I have read many Christian books, whether it be self-help or deep theology, and Chan's book is a refreshing medium between the two. Being a seminary student myself, this book will reach a wide range of reading abilities, while challenging the most skilled biblical exegetes and seminarians. More specifically, Chan's chapters on the Old and New Testaments are theological gold mines, as are his chapters on the church in our world today. What Chan does that is different from most Christian ministry books, is that he is personal and yet theologically challenging. He has changed the way books of this kind should be written from here on out.
The weaknesses worth mentioning from Chan's book are few and do not detract from the book, but the first one is the fact that the book does not give a clear plan on how to make disciples that make disciples. I was hoping to find some definitive answer to my questions on how to start a discipleship program, or how to teach youth students how to disciple other students, but Chan was lacking in this area. I finished the book understanding scripture better, but not the process of discipleship. The second weakness is that the chapters on how to study the bible were introductory at best. I was surprised by how poor and lacking these chapters were, despite the fact that Chan is a wonderful exegete of scripture. He offers nothing new on actually how to study the bible, but rather he offers the reasons why we study the bible.
Chan's book is an easy and useful read for anyone in ministry. If you are looking for an in-depth study of discipleship or a new outlook on how to study the bible, this book is NOT for you. However, if you are looking to better understand the grand narrative of the bible and the churches mission, then I would recommend this book to you.
on April 25, 2015
Francis Chan writes amazing stuff. Here he has collaborated with David Platt to create a comprehensive discipleship tool. If you go to his multiplymovement.com there are short 5 minute videos that go with each chapter and there are GREAT questions throughout the book. This book is NOT written for you, but written for you to use in discipling another. SO, DO IT!
on May 25, 2013
In my opinion, Francis Chan is one of the best communicators we have in the church today. His fiery passion for God is wildly infectious. I always enjoy his words.
Multiply has a simple concept. God told us to make disciples so we should go and make disciples. With such a simple concept I was surprised that the book was over 300 pages, but I was excited to read it nonetheless.
The book consists of 5 clearly labeled sections: Discipleship Making, Living as the Church, How to study the Bible, Understanding the Old Testament, and Understanding the New Testament. The first two sections break down the calling of the Church in the local and global communities. How to Study the Bible is kind of weak attempt to advocate both academic and personal exploration of the Bible. (I obviously don't think "academic" and "personal" are conflicting ideas but it can definitely be presented that way). The final two sections summarize the entire the Bible narrative in an extremely concise way.
In the end, Multiply is a good book designed specifically for small groups in hopes of making creating new disciples. I am not sure in the Bible Cliff-Notes was necessary.
on January 29, 2013
If you are asking "What is a do-over?" the answer is I want to review the material more in depth with our small group and as a church project next month. For me it's easy to read a book but the real meat is found in the lives and discussions with other believers as we tackle each chapter, research the questions and compare a book to THE book, the Bible. I'm looking forward to some lively discussions and areas of growth. The additional resources on multiplymovement.com were really helpful. I was able to see the authors hearts and genuine enthusiasm in a non-commercial atmosphere. I signed up immediately.
Why did I only give it 3 stars? Here's the rub. Though the authors went into great depth to explain why we should disciple, they disappointed me by not saying how to do it. Maybe its in another book, or online but its not here. Hence the 3 stars. This book could have been better named "Why Multiply." and offer a companion novel on "How To Multiply".
Since the release of Crazy Love in 2008, Francis Chan has become one of the consistently bestselling Christian authors. Crazy Love, The Forgotten God and Erasing Hell have all made their mark, tallying millions of sales. His most recent book, Multiply, was released in November. Written with Mark Beuving, it begins with a statement that pertains to every Christian: You were made to make disciples. Every Christian has the same God-given commission: to go and to make disciples of all the nations. And yet, say the authors, "Christians today are not known for making disciples. We have developed a culture where ministers minister and the rest of us sit back and enjoy `church' from a comfortable distance. This is not what God intends for His church. Every Christian is called by God to minister. You are called to make disciples."
Multiply is Chan's attempt to remedy this great oversight. "Multiply is designed as a simple resource that you can use to begin making disciples. Our prayer is that it will give you the confidence you need to step out in faith and disciple the people whom God has placed in your life." This is a book (and an accompanying series of videos, available online) that is meant to be taught more than it is meant to be read; it is meant to be digested in community, not read in isolation. Chan's hope is that one Christian will lead others through the contents, and in so doing, prepare that person to lead someone else through it. It has a viral dimension to it. As the book closes he writes, "If you have been walking someone through this material, keep reading the Bible with that person and find someone else to begin this process with. If you have just been guided through the material by someone else, then take what you have learned and walk someone else through it."
Here is a quick breakdown of the book's five sections:
Living as a Disciple Maker. Here, in three chapters, Chan introduces the concept and importance of discipleship.
Living as the Church. Chan sets disciple-making in the context of the local church, which is to say, Christian fellowship and community.
How to Study the Bible. After showing why Christians must study the Bible, Chan encourages Christians to do so prayerfully, obediently and logically.
Understanding the Old Testament. Nine chapters simply share the sweep of the Old Testament from Creation to prophecy.
Understanding the New Testament. Six chapters progress from the birth of Jesus to the coming return.
Though I read the book by myself, without leading another person through it, I can see that it would work well for that purpose. This is exactly the kind of material that will prove helpful to new believers. Sections 4 and 5, dealing as they do with the grand sweep of redemption, are keys needed to tie the whole Bible together and keys that have far too often been missing in discipleship material.
I have just two minor critiques. The first involves Chan's statement that Christians are not known for discipleship. To an extent I agree; Christians are not known for formal programs of discipleship such as reading through a book like Multiply that formalizes a process for learning the basics of the Christian faith. However, I do think Christians do a great deal of informal discipleship that may be no more formal than a married couple inviting young, single believers into their home to see how a Christian family functions. This is discipleship too and in some ways the best kind of discipleship--the kind that says, "Be like me."
And that leads me to the second critique. Chan's discipleship is largely biblical and theological, which is wonderful, but focuses very little on character. A disciple who goes through this material may not have developed the kind of character that would make him an ideal discipler. While the book has many applications that call for the development of character, I would have appreciated more of a focus on the fruit of the Spirit and the growth of distinctly Christian qualities.
Those small critiques aside, Multiply is a good book and one that fills an important niche. If you think back to the days when you were a new believer, I am certain you will see the benefit of this type of material. If this book sells half as many copies as Crazy Love, and if it is widely taught, it will certainly benefit the church.
(Note: all of the book's material is also available free online)
on January 22, 2013
Chan is passionate for discipleship in this book; probably his most powerful book yet. Crazy Love hits personally to address the heart for Jesus; this book makes the demand to do something about it. You can do it alone or as a church, the effect will still be positive. My only issue with Chan on his approach is that he thrusts the young disciple into being a disciple-maker regardless of the experience level of the disciples. This may become frustrating to many and could result in heretical teaching of a new disciples. A process that takes a disciple through a development cycle of at least 6-12 months would ensure more stability. However, Chan is also trying to spur on the laziness of American Christians who become complacent about their faith and evangelism through inactivity. Somehow both issues need to be addressed, for me it is getting the new disciple engaged in discipleship and then supporting the disciple as the disciple reaches out to shape new disciples.