How do you effectively minister to someone from a different culture or background than yours? Why are so many Americans apathetic towards the Christian faith? These are just a couple of the questions which are addressed in David L. Watson and Paul D. Watson’s book, Contagious Disciple Making: Leading Others on a Journey of Discovery.
Each month here on the blog, I will be reviewing a book or film. Over the past few weeks, I had the pleasure of diving into this challenging and engaging read. I have never read anything like Contagious Disciple Making. It dared me to reevaluate my life as a follower of Christ, to move ahead boldly in my journey with Him, and to earnestly think about what it means to be a disciple.
The book opens with a heartfelt prayer from David begging to be released from his call to plant churches around the world. Six men he worked with had been martyred. Every day, his prayer was the same.
But instead of freeing him from his life’s purpose, God showed David and his son Paul a different way. Rather than focus on building churches, they would emphasize making disciples. After all, isn’t this the command God gave in the Great Commission?
God did not say, “Go and build churches.” He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19 NIV)
David and Paul examine some of the common mistakes which have prevented the growth of the church in the past. The book is divided into two parts, and in Part 1 they talk about the mindset a disciple maker must have to be successful in creating new disciples. One of the frequent oversights of those in the ministry field, especially cross-cultural ministry, is that people enforce the stipulations of their own doctrine or brand of Christianity.
Over the course of several years of research and prayer, the authors discovered that the most effective way to make disciples is to stick with the Gospel alone. Do not dilute it with your own practices of worship, your own rules for training leadership, or any other criteria you learned from your denomination or culture.
When we add our own methods and practices to the Gospel in a culture which may not share our views, we weaken the message of Christ. Once people proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, they can cultivate their own society’s way of gathering, worshiping, and growing in ways that are obedient to scripture.
In Part 2, the authors talk about the practices of effective disciple makers. Such practices include mobilizing prayer and engaging lost people through personal evangelism, serving the community, and using local businesses. Once again, the Gospel is used as the center for all teaching. For example, people don’t know how to pray unless they are taught, so the Lord’s prayer provides an excellent blueprint.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to explore God’s call for his or her life and be challenged in the faith. If you are comfortable with a lukewarm version of Christianity and do not desire a change, then this book may not be for you.
Either way, read it. It will change your life.
I am giving away a copy of Contagious Disciple Making as a gift to one lovely reader. To enter the drawing, simply comment below. You can be entered a second time by sharing either on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Simply let me know in your comment that you shared this post. I will randomly choose a winner and announce who it is here on the blog on Tuesday, March 17.