Read Bobby Harrington’s review of Brandon Guindon’s book Stay the Course to help you decide about using it for your group.
In this post, Bobby Harrington, founder and CEO of Renew.org and Discipleship.org, and I review Stay the Course by Brandon Guindon. You’ll get the main message of the book, Bobby’s three biggest takeaways, and vital information about using this book in a group.
This book is a Discipleship.org resource that they published through HIM Publications. In fact, this was our first partnership book back in November of 2017.
The main message of this book: If you will commit to the seven practices or seven guardrails, then you’ll help people to stay the course and be disciples who make disciples.
Three Big Takeaways
Bobby Harrington offers his three biggest takeaways from Stay the Course.
Stay The Course is about helping disciple making groups learn the seven essential practices that make a disciple making church. It will help your leaders focus on the key elements of helping people to be disciples and make disciples.
1. Setting Your Priorities Straight
How do you keep your leaders of the church focused on the right things? These seven practices, if the leaders of a church will adopt them, really create a great cultural environment of prioritizing the things that church leaders need to prioritize.
2. Abide in Christ
The first practice Stay the Course is to abide in Christ. I have to say, I’m so pleased that that’s one of the seven practices because a lot of churches don’t slow down and make sure that their staff and leaders are personally abiding in Christ.
We are going to minister out of the overflow of our being, and the most essential thing is that we want to be genuine disciples.
3. You Need Discipline
In your best self, you would want to do these practices. With the discipline of using these seven practices, being conscious of them as a staff, and regularly coming back to them, you end up doing what you really want to do with your church. However, you need discipline to help you do these practices.
The Seven Practices
The seven practices outlined in Stay the Course function as guardrails to keep your church on track to develop a culture of making disciples who make disciples. These seven practices are as follows:
1. Abide in Christ
Have your staff and your key leaders always asking, “How are we doing with abiding in Christ?”
2. Reach the Lost
Make effort to reach the lost around you.
3. Connect the Unconnected
This refers to people who are part of the church, but they’re not in discipling relationships — get them connected.
4. Chase the Strays
In other words, the people who stop coming to church who are losing their way, we chase after them. We reach out to them, not in a sense of negative accountability, but instead saying, “Hey, we care about you, we love you, and we haven’t seen you. How are you doing?”
5. Shepherding People Toward Spiritual Maturity
In other words, be aware of when somebody is an infant, child, or spiritual adult, and help them to grow to the next phases.
6. Equip and Release Leaders
Equip and release disciple makers to train up other people. You want your people to make disciples and then empower and release those disciples to make more disciples.
7. Function as a Team
You need to have a group of leaders with the same playbook and the same concepts, all trying to accomplish the same goals.
How to Use Stay the Course With Your Group
The goal of making disciples means that everybody in leadership positions in the church need to be aware of the key concepts and the key practices of this book. So I’m going to want all of my leaders, all of my staff, to really be aware of these principles.
I have done this at our church, Harpeth Christian Church. All of our staff members have worked through this book. We like them to come back to it every couple of years and hopefully, we’re embedding these seven practices in our culture.
These practices are practices for the leaders of the church. So if it’s a smaller church, it would be lay leaders and small group leaders. But the bigger the church becomes, it’ll be important that your elders and all the staff are working on these things, and that you have rhythms for the staff or for the elders of the church to be going through these.
By the size of 150 people, these practices are good practices to make a part of the rhythm of whatever staff or official leadership structure you have.
Vital Information About Stay the Course for Groups
- Chapter Count? 7 chapters
- Weeks of Study? 7–9 weeks
- Recommended size of group? 4–12 people
- Age of target audience? Adult
- Gender specific? No
- Reader difficulty? 3 out of 10
- Appropriate for New Believers? Yes
- What level of maturity does Stay the Course assume? This book assumes that the reader is a church leader who wants to help their church stay on the good course of discipleship.
- Discussion questions in the book? Yes
- Homework required? Yes
- Video series available? No
Theology of Stay the Course
- Theological red flags? No
- Denominationally specific content? No
- Author’s preferred Bible translation? NIV
- Publisher? Nashville, TN: HIM Publications, 2017
What Can Stay the Course Accomplish for Your Group?
- Uses seven essential practices—or “guardrails”—to guide you along the road of disciple making in your local context
- Helps you apply these seven practices to your personal life and implement them in your church
- Encourages you to stay on the road of discipleship
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