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Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples Paperback – November 1, 2012
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“Multiply is a simple, practical, biblical, helpful, and personal tool for disciples of Jesus who want to make disciples of Jesus.”
—from the foreword by David Platt
About the Author
Mark Beuving is a professor at Eternity Bible College in Southern California, where he lives with his wife and daughters.
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Top customer reviews
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.
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.
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.