Book Review: Real-life Discipleship by Jim Putman

In “Real-life Discipleship”, Jim Putman records the strategy by which churches can build themselves through making disciples.  The emphasis is placed on what God does through ordinary people available and faithful to God’s calling to make disciples.  The challenge exists, but the process is simple enough for any person feeling “inadequate, fearful” or like a “failure” in life.

Discipleship does not just happen.  It won’t happen by accident, except in a few cases like the apostle Paul and Billy Graham.  Churches must become intentional about building up disciples.  When the Biblical foundation is secure in a relational environment, then the reproductive process can grow people spiritually. 

Putman outlines well the spiritual growth process through five stages of living.  The first is the spiritually dead and then four stages of the Christian: infant, child, young adult and spiritual parent.  He makes the case well, because several of the chapters include “the phrase from the stage” that identifies how far along the spiritual growth level a Christian has grown.  A Christian may have been converted for 60 years, but if he is still saying things like “Why do those new people have to come into our small group?” it’s obvious that he is still in the spiritual child stage.  This assessment is essential to help people understand where they are in the Christian life, so they can grow up and consider how to become spiritual parents and reproduce growing disciples.

This book could have been outlined more clearly.  At times it could have been more succinct, but the content is so refreshing and focused on a missing ingredient of multiplication.  Jim has a laser focus on what his church is supposed to do and every Christian ought to consider two questions.  First, “What is my goal?”  And secondly, “What am I producing?” 

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