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Discipleship That Fits: The Five Kinds of Relationships God Uses to Help Us Grow Paperback – February 9, 2016
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Absalom and Harrington have written a 'Velveteen Rabbit' story. Beginning with a communication theory and leaning on the structure of how people belong, Discipleship That Fits makes it all real. Developing a praxis of discipleship that brings the best thought of how people actually communicate, belong, and grow is genius! This book will bring your discipleship program to life."
-- Joseph R. Myers, author The Search to Belong and Organic Community
"Most Christian pastors, leaders and evangelists acknowledge that effective discipleship is the major weak link in the modern Church's life. That's why all should be deeply thankful for this very practical and helpful volume in the five key relationships on which effective discipleship is built. I am thankful for what Alex Absalom and Bobby Harrington have here given the Church and I commend their very fine contribution with all my heart."
-- Dr. Michael Cassidy, founder African Enterprise and Honorary Chair of the Lausanne Movement, and author The Church Jesus Prayed For
"This book by my friends Alex and Bob is a winner! I have personally witnessed the impact of the ideas that are so well articulated in the pages of this book. Biblically substantial and rich in practical suggestions, Discipleship that Fits is a very welcome addition to the growing writings on the essential area of discipleship."
--Alan Hirsch, founder Future Travelers and 100Movements, and author The Forgotten Ways and The Faith of Leap
"Essential is the adjective for Discipleship that Fits. As a biblical, practical and missional treatment of discipleship, any church leader is guaranteed to gain fresh insight and break-thru ideas for ministry."
-- Will Mancini, founder Auxano consulting, and author God Dreams and Church Unique
"Refreshing. Balanced. Biblical. Practical. Thought-provoking. This simple book carries a big punch, from practitioners not theorists, and is a message we have needed for a long time."
-- Neil Cole, author Ordinary Hero, Organic Church, and Primal Fire
"Bobby and Alex are discipleship practitioners that I've benefited from richly and deeply respect. Their work on discipleship in a variety of contexts is a much needed resource for equipping disciples in the everyday stuff of life. I plan to add this book to my equipping tool belt as I'm confident it will further aid the church in fulfilling the Everyday Commission Jesus has given us."
--Jeff Vanderstelt, Visionary leader of Soma Family of Churches, and author Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life
"Bobby and Alex have written such a practical and inspiring book, I started taking notes and wondering, 'Can I steal this bit for my next book?' I must admit, reading it was like a conversation with friends and with authors I respect, it was great fun. You are going to find this very useful with your colleagues and members of your congregation."
--Bill Hull, Senior Leader of The Bonhoeffer Project, and author Jesus Christ Disciple Maker and The Disciple Making Church
"Bobby and Alex have done a great job of explaining that discipleship happens best and only in relationship. But they have pressed in further to unpack the kinds of relational environments that are needed and how they each relate to the whole picture found in scripture. Not only do these guys write about it and bring clarity but they live it out as well."
--Jim Putman, Founder of the Relational Discipleship Network, and author Church is a Team Sport and Real Life Discipleship Training Manual
"Although Jesus gave us a mandate to make disciples, he didn't give us a manual. Bobby Harrington and Alex Absalom have done the heavy lifting for us by investigating and explaining five relationships that will cultivate spiritual growth. Keep this book handy. It will be a resource you refer to often as you invest in others."
--Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church Nashville, and author Growing Up and Rediscovering Discipleship
"In Discipleship that Fits, Bobby and Alex present a simple yet powerful framework for considering the different contexts within which discipleship happens. This framework will help individuals live more balanced lives with discipleship at the core, and will help church leaders be more strategic about their activities and programs."
--Todd Wilson, Founder and Director of Exponential Conference, and author More
"Understanding the profound truth of the Incarnation, Harrington and Absalom develop the premise that Jesus-like discipling must too be relational... Masterfully developed, you will find the truths of this book are ones that you will come back to over and over again."
--Dr. Dann Spader, Founder of Sonlife and Global Youth Initiative, and author 4 Chair Discipling
"Bobby and Alex challenge us to re-imagine discipleship in all of life. Clearly showing that relationships, like people, come in many shapes and sizes, each designed to naturally and uniquely mold our character in Christ. If you're tired of feeling out of place when it comes to discipleship and evangelism, read this book!"
--Caesar Kalinowski, author Transformed and Small Is Big, Slow Is Fast
"Instead of wandering in the wondering of who, when and where, Discipleship That Fits provides five contexts for disciple-makers to deliberately co-mission with Jesus in His original plan to change the world! I'd encourage you to read it, find your fit and get on with doing it!"
--Dave Buehring, President of Lionshare, and author A Discipleship Journey
"The creativity of methodology and contextualized intentionality without compromising Biblical principles of what it means to be and make disciples makes Discipleship that Fits a very helpful and inspiring read. Very useful and encouraging personally."
--Dr. Kennon Vaughan, Lead Pastor of Harvest Church Memphis and founder of Downline Ministries
"Christianity happens in relationships. They are the context in which meaningful spiritual growth takes place. In Discipleship That Fits, the authors articulate a helpful and meaningful paradigm through which church leaders can utilize natural, relational dynamics to cultivate a meaningful and biblically faithful discipleship ministry within the local church. Do yourself a favor; buy this book, study this book, and evaluate your church's disciple-making ministries in light of its conclusions. A church that utilizes the approach advocated by Harrington and Absalom cannot but produce maturing disciples who labor together to advance the Kingdom."
--From the Foreword by Dr. Thom Rainer, President and CEO LifeWay Christian Resources
I plan to add this book to my equipping toolbelt because I’m confident it will aid the church in fulfilling the Everyday Commission Jesus has given us. -- Jeff Vanderstelt, visionary leader, Soma Family of Churches
Reading this book was like having a conversation with friends and authors I respect. You are going to find it very useful with your colleagues and members of your congregation. -- Bill Hull, author, Jesus Christ Disciplemaker and Conversion and Discipleship
Presents a simple yet powerful framework for considering the contexts within which discipleship happens. It will help individuals to live more balanced lives and church leaders to be more strategic. -- Todd Wilson, founder and director, Exponential Conference; author of More
Bobby and Alex have done a great job explaining that discipleship happens best and only in relationship. Not only do these guys write about it; they live it out as well. -- Jim Putman, pastor; founder, Relational Discipleship Network; author, DiscipleShift
This book is a winner. Biblically substantial and rich in practical suggestions, it’s a very welcome addition to the growing writings on the essential area of discipleship. -- Alan Hirsch, founder, Future Travelers and 100Movements; author, The Forgotten Ways and The Faith of Leap
Refreshing. Balanced. Biblical. Practical. Thought-provoking. This simple book carries a big punch, from practitioners, not theorists, and has a message we have needed for a long time. -- Neil Cole, author, Ordinary Hero, Organic Church, and Primal Fire
Although Jesus gave us a mandate to make disciples, he didn’t give us a manual. Keep this book handy. It will be a resource you refer to often as you invest in others. -- Robby Gallaty, senior pastor, Long Hollow Baptist Church
The words of Jesus in Matthew 28, “Go make disciples,” mean, “As you are going about living life, make disciple-makers.” Read this book, find your fit, and get on with doing it. -- Dave Buehring, president, Lionshare; author, A Discipleship Journey
A fresh and needed perspective. Bobby and Alex make discipleship more understandable and tangible for every Christian, in every kind of church. Useful and encouraging. -- Dr. Kennon Vaughn, lead pastor, Harvest Church; founder, Downline Ministries
Looking at five contexts for relationships, Bobby and Alex show us how to leverage each for fruitful discipling. This book is one that you will come back to over and over again. -- Dr. Dann Spader, founder, Sonlife and Global Youth Initiative
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Top Customer Reviews
In Discipleship That Fits, Absolom and Harrington suggest we can effectively disciple others in various contexts when we know the rules of the "relational space." (One of the authors' updates to Meyer's work is changing the word "relational space" to "relational context" and "intimate space" to "transparent context" - for fear of men being put off by the term "intimacy.")
After explaining the five contexts (they also added the Divine context, where God disciples us one-on-one), the authors proceed to illustrate and make a biblical case for each one, using Jesus, Paul, and notable OT leaders as examples. At times, their biblical argument felt a bit rushed and shallow. In their defense, most people who read these kinds of books are looking for practical tips, not theological arguments.
What was more valuable than their biblical defense was the list of three realistic outcomes for each discipleship context. I won't steal their thunder (read the book), but this helped me, as a pastor, rethink my expectations (and disappointments) with small groups and Sunday morning gatherings. (Note: I pastor a church of 90 people, which is a gap category, not fitting any of the categories).
When the author's reached the final context (the Divine), the book stumbled to a conclusion. Perhaps I am naive, but the target audience for a book on discipleship likely knows the merits of hearing from God. He or she has likely made spiritual disciplines a practice. Here I skimmed. Had the authors inverted their order, placing the Divine Context first and working from center to periphery, they would have kept my attention. This is why I gave the book four stars instead of five.
All in all, it was an easy, helpful, practical read. Every year I work through one book on discipleship. The topic is crucial to Christian living and central to Jesus' mission (Matthew 28:18-20). Thus, I always appreciate authors who reignite my passion for the Great Commission. Absolom and Harrington did stir my thinking and rekindle my passion. Now is the hard work of going to make disciples...
It starts by defining discipleship or “disciple-making” and its goal or goals, then looks at the different forms it takes, basically the size of the group or number of individuals involved, called “contexts” and the types of relationships they involve.
After establishing discipleship as what is needed in the local church, its primary task, the authors go on to describe how this can be implemented in five contexts: the public, social, personal, transparent, and divine context.
This is a thoughtful, insightful, and well-researched book that thoroughly covers the subject of discipleship or mentoring with guidelines on how to make it work within the life of the local church. And while you may not agree with all the authors’ definitions of terms and conclusions, you will find plenty to think about—issues we believers should give some careful thought to concerning how we are living and seeking to grow and help each other mature and become more effective in this troubled world.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are different contexts in the way that people relate, directly related...Read more
This book describes the five levels of discipleship: public, social, personal, transparent, and divine.Read more