Book Review: Simple Church 3
The Importance of “Moving” Disciples
One of the most practical areas of Simple Church centers on the importance of “moving” people from one level of discipleship to another. This emphasis on “movement” is badly needed in Southern Baptist churches today, many of which seek to build only one aspect of the ministry (worship attendance, for example) instead of seeing people grow spiritually through an intentional discipleship process.
The authors define “movement” as the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment (139). Most pastors already hope their people are moving to greater areas of commitment, but Simple Church challenges pastors to figure out what the “hand-offs” are by asking tough questions that aim specifically at removing congestion between church programs. How are we moving people from worship attendance to small group participation? How are we moving people from Bible study to mission trips? Rainer and Geiger encourage pastors to have an intentional, specific plan for moving people from one area of ministry to another.
Thankfully, though the authors focus on formulas adopted by other churches (83-103), they do not advocate a simplistic formula meant to work in every kind of church. The Great Commission should be a constant reminder that we are not called simply to make new converts or to keep old believers happy, but that we are to make disciples. No formula can ever capture the numerous ways that discipleship takes place, but the inclusion of other church experiences help the reader.
People will not move from one area of discipleship to another without some system in place to connect them to people in the next level. Rainer and Geiger encourage church leaders to have a clear entry-point to the process and also a clear method of moving people to the next stage (146-147). Relationships are crucial here (151-152). Titus 2:2-8 backs up the importance of relationships in discipleship, as Paul commands older men and women to mentor and disciple those in the next generation.
written by Trevin Wax © 2007 Kingdom People blog