I grew up hearing a lot of teaching and preaching in church about what the gospel was. It consisted, I was told, mostly of what Jesus taught.One day when I was in college, a guest speaker came to our youth ministry class and uttered a sentence that would open an entirely new dimension to my understanding of the gospel. "Jesus' methods," the speaker said, "are just as much a part of the gospel as his message." Wow!
This book takes a simple, yet profoundly insightful, look at Jesus' methods--how he made disciples, how he equipped his disciples to carry out his mission. If we want to know how best to make disciples, doesn't it make sense to ask how the greatest disciple-maker of all time did it? That's what Coleman does in this book that has become a classic.
Many of today's "discipling" methods consist primarily of guiding either individuals or groups through a curriculum. They begin with cognitive knowledge and assume that cognitive knowlege leads to behavioral change. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn't.
That was not Jesus' approach. Coleman identifies eight principles that Jesus embodied in his disciple-making: Selection, Association, Consecration, Impartation, Demonstration, Delegation, Supervision, and Reproduction--and devotes a chapter to each.
A few excerpts:
"Most of the evangelistic efforts of the church begin with the multitudes under the assumption that the church is qualified to preserve what good is done. The result is our spectacular emphasis on numbers of converts, candidates for baptism, and more members for the church, with little or no genuine concern manifested toward the establishment of these souls in the love and power of God, let alone the preservation and continuation of the work."
"This was the essence of his training program--just letting his disciples follow him."
"Knowledge was gained by association before it was understood by explanation."
If you're wanting to get a biblical perspective on how to do evangelism or how to make disciples, apart from the Scripture on which this book is based, it would be harder to find a better starting point than this book. By Eddy Hal