I've just finished Transformational Discipleship by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley and Philip Nation. I had been looking forward to reading it since I heard about it, and it didn't disappoint. I would recommend it for pastors and leaders, as well as any Christian who is concerned with being a better disciple. That pretty much should be all Christians, right?
Anyway, the authors start out by introducing us to the concept of transformational discipleship. They point out that everyone is a disciple of something or someone, and that not all discipleship produces transformation. It might change things on the outside, but inward transformation requires being a disciple of Jesus. It isn't about knowledge, though that is important (and even part of the process of transformation), and it isn't about behavior modification, though our actions will change as we are transformed.
They have created an image they call the "transformational sweet spot", converging Truth, Posture and Leadership. You should read the book and find out more. How we discover and live in truth, grow with a proper understanding of who we are in Christ, and how we lead and are led are all things you'll find as you read through this book.
One of the areas I especially liked was when they reminded me of the importance of communicating that our discipleship is a result of our identity. Who we are in Christ is why we love God, love people and reach out to the world. While I certainly speak of this often, I don't know that I do it nearly often enough.
Another area I'll mention quickly has to do with the idea of creating leaders. As a pastor, I'm not proactive enough in creating leaders. Too often my temptation is to wait to see who reveals leadership tendencies, and help them become leaders. I don't think this is good enough.
I will continue to process the book. There is a lot there, and it has left me challenged. As I prepare for leading the church I pastor into the future, there are a lot of these concepts I will be mulling over and applying to the way I lead.
I love to read material that is written from research, or at least supported by research. Transformational Discipleship is that kind of book. Its insights are derived from nearly 4000 interviews, and partially influenced by Dr Waggoners book in 2007, "Shape of THings to Come."
The authors do a great job of providing insight to the state of discipleship in the church today. They do not intend to provide churches a model to simply apply. In fact, they are clear about their intention to identify key components in a framework that is proving successful, but it must be the local church leaders that develop their own system based on their culture and people.
The book affirms many of my beliefs, but confronts me in other areas of my leadership. They do a great job about addressing the preparation and heart that leaders (SS Teachers, Pastors, SG Leaders, etc) must have for believers to be discipled.
I would highly recommend everybody in a local church to go through the book. Pastors may even think about requiring it as part of leadership training for all leaders.