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Among Wolves: Disciple-Making in the City Paperback – March 1, 2017
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To Lewis, discipleship is not optional, it is central to the mission of the church in the world. "Disciple-making is not A ministry of the church; is IS the ministry of the church." Discipleship is reproducing who you are in the context of the church family, through life lived together. In contrast to some models of discipleship, it "is not simply a one-on-one appointment twice a month with someone who is more mature in their faith. . . . It is not a meeting. It is not mentorship. It is not me teaching you what I know." Truth.
In the end, I was bit disappointed by the vagueness of Lewis's prescriptions. His church is called Blueprint because they want to be a blueprint from which other disciple-making churches can be built. But there wasn't much here that I could take as a blueprint to build discipleship into my Christian life and walk. I was also disappointed by the lack of "urban" emphasis. Lewis is black, and I presume the neighborhood his church is in has lots of black residents, but other than his repeated assertion that he doesn't want black Christians to be "forced to leave the urban context" for discipleship, very little was said about any unique challenges of church life and discipleship in an urban setting. Obviously, there's nothing wrong with a book about discipleship that can be applied in any church setting, but when it purports to address a unique church niche, it should live up to the cover copy.
I applaud Lewis's commitment to making disciples. I agree with his re-orientation of what we think of as disciple-making. Discipleship is a whole-life project, not a segmented part of the Christian life but intrinsic in the meaning of the church as the family of God. To make disciples, we have to be in family relationship with other Christians, and to reach people we have to do so in context. Lewis has a good word for the church to be family and to "transmit and embody the life of Jesus through the life of his followers." Amen.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
"Disciple-making is not a ministry of the church; it is the ministry of the church."
"It is my deepest burden–a God-given burden. I can coach, and I can do it well. But I must make disciples, and I must help others do the same."
"God's vision is for redemption that brings about reconciliation."
"You can teach what you know, but you only reproduce who you are."
"Church is not like family; it is family."
"I define discipleship as our capacity to lovingly transmit and embody the life of Jesus through the life of His followers."
"My foundational belief is that if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a church to raise a Christian."
I would highly recommend this book not just to pastors but to anyone looking to grow in their faith. If you have a heart for urban ministry, this is a great resource for you. If you want to uncover a vision for your life or ministry, this is a great book for you. If you want to grow in making disciples of Jesus, this is a great book for you!
The greatest challenge in any congregation is getting folks to participate in active disciple-making. Why? Of course, there are a host of reasons and some of it we Christians need to own up to. For instance, many times we make being a Christian seem like all fun and games perhaps easy without helping convey the cost of being a follower.
In the book, the author shares principles he has learned and some of them the hard way. Dhati Lewis shares ideas of how local congregations can walk though some steps and help others come alongside to teach, listen, learn and more with other people from various backgrounds. It’s a challenge not to remain comfortable in one place, but to go out into the city to reach others who need Christ.
The author uses the Gospel of Matthew, showing us Jesus as He made disciples, then released them to go out and call others to come into the fold. Nothing can be accomplished simply by following principles, steps, etc. We must be open to God though His Spirit to show us how He desires each of us to carry out the mission in sharing the gospel with others.