Brandon Guindon and Chad Harrington review DiscipleShift by Jim Putman and Bobby Harrington to help you decide about using it for your group.
About six years ago, I was at a retreat at a monastery in Trappist, Kentucky. At that point, DiscipleShift had sold 30,000 copies. So I was sitting there in this little conference area, and a guy was just reading this book.
This monastery had people from all denominations, and I thought, What a cool little missionary. (As a book publisher, I think of books as little missionaries.)
And I thought, Man, what a cool thing to see lying on the floor. Just to see it impacting someone else from afar.
I know it’s impacted so many people, and it’s really a high-level shift maker. It’s a paradigm-shifting book.
The Review of DiscipleShift
Hear from Brandon Guindon, lead pastor of Real Life Texas, and author of several discipleship books — including Disciple Making Culture — as he reviews Jim Putman and Bobby Harrington’s book, DiscipleShift.
In this post, you’ll get the main message of this book, Brandon’s three biggest takeaways, and how you could use this book in discipleship groups.
Brandon Guindon: The main message of this book is how to take steps in shifting your church to a disciple-making church. If a pastor or a leadership group wants to move their church from the standard things that we know today in church — the sometimes programmatic thinking — to a church that lives out being a disciple-making church within the DNA of who they are, then this is the book to read.
Brandon’s Three Biggest Takeaways from DiscipleShift
1. It gives instructional, practical steps that you can take.
This book does a great job of getting into the how tos. It’s not just philosophical, but it says, “Here are the steps that you need to take.”
So for example, one of my favorite shifts that Jim and Bobby talk about is the second shift, “From Informing to Equipping.” They talk in the chapters about how we actually help equip our leaders in the church. They give practical ways to do this. It’s not just theoretical or philosophical. And that’s one of the things I love about this book.
2. It creates that conversation among the leadership about knowing what it is that the church is trying to accomplish.
I like to use the term “True North.” What is it that we’re trying to accomplish?
A lot of times when I’ve had conversations with leaders, they’ve never really thought about that. They might have a mission statement or some other kind of strategic statement about the church like a vision statement.
But this book causes you to step back and really evaluate: What is the win? What is it that we are shifting to?
So it creates conversation among the leadership about what we are going after. What is the church called to do, and are we aligned with that biblically? And how do we shift to get there?
3. The Five Shifts
Jim and Bobby lay out five critical shifts that churches seeking to become a disciple-making church will need to make:
- From reaching to making
- From informing to equipping
- From program to purpose
- From activity to relationship
- From accumulating to deploying
How to Use DiscipleShift with Your Group
I would start with a small group at the core of your church. Get the highest-level leaders on your team in a room and read this together, going through each shift and asking questions. Are we doing this? Are we able to do this? What is it going to take to make this shift?
So get your staff or your most influential leaders in the church together in a small group once a week or once every other week and discuss the principles from this book.
This is not something I just would disperse immediately to the whole church and have everybody read it.
I would look to have your group be between 8 to 12 people. Certainly, you could go to 3 or 4, but if it got above 12, then I would consider branching into two groups and having a key facilitator for both groups.
The reason is when you’re going through these shifts, to hear from everybody and to consider what it’s going to take to actually make those shifts, it is important that you are able to hear all the voices and that people are able to talk through the shifts. So if you start getting that group up in the 18 to 24 size, you’re not going to hear from everybody, and it’s going to diminish what you get out of this book.
Vital Information about DiscipleShift for Groups
- Chapter Count? 12 chapters
- Weeks of Study? 5–12 weeks
- Recommended size of group? 4–12 people
- Age of target audience? Adult
- Gender specific? No
- Reader difficulty? 4 out of 10
- Appropriate for New Believers? No
- What level of maturity does DiscipleShift assume? Readers need to be involved in discipleship and want to grow into the best disciple-makers they can be.
- Discussion questions in the book? No
- Homework required? Yes
- Video series available? No
Theology of DiscipleShift
- Theological red flags? No
- Denominationally specific content? No
- Author’s preferred Bible translation? NIV
- Publisher? Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013
What can DiscipleShift accomplish for your group?
- Walks you through five key shifts that your church must make
- Shows your church how to attract the world
- Empowers your church members to be salt and light in their communities
- Helps you realign the values of your church so that discipleship is at the core
Recommended Purchase Links for DiscipleShift
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Also check out our blog on Jim Putman’s book RelationShift, which is about how we need close relationships to be able to survive the difficulties that we face as Christians and as church leaders.
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