This is a collection of notes and an overview summary of Jim Putnam’s book “Real Life Discipleship” the views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of the writer. Overall there is a lot I do agree with in the book though there are some points where I would differ.


Real Life Discipleship
By Jim Putman


When a church spends most of its time and energy putting on a weekly show, the pastor is too busy to create a system by which people are being discipled…If making biblical disciples is the business of the church, and business is good, every need of the church will be met. When we disciple our people, leaders naturally develop and emerge…I am not against an organized weekend service done well (the show); I am against a weekend service only. A weekend service (show) can supplement the discipleship process, but it cannot create disciples alone. Discipleship demands intentionally and relationship—by which each person is invested in specifically. This cannot happen in the weekend service (page 23).

Definition of a Disciple (Matthew 4:19)

  • “Come, follow me”: a disciple knows and follows Christ (head).
  • “And I will make you”: a disciple is being changed by Christ (heart).
  • “Fishers of men”: a disciple is committed to the mission of Christ (hands).

Method of Discipleship

  • Jesus was an intentional leader
  • Jesus did His disciple-making in a relational environment
  • Jesus followed a process that can be learned and repeated.
  • An intentional leader + a relational environment + a reproducible process = an infinite number of disciples.

Five Stages of a Disciple’s Growth

  • Spiritually dead (unbelief)
  • Spiritual infant (ignorance)
  • Spiritual child (self-centeredness)
  • Spiritual young adult (service, God-centeredness, other-centeredness)
  • Spiritual parent (intentionality, reproducibility, strategy)

Moving Disciples Forward

  • Spiritually Dead: share the gospel
  • Spiritual infant: share your life, share new truth, share new habits
  • Spiritual child: connect to God, connect to small group, connect to God’s purpose
  • Spiritual young adult: equip for ministry, provide ministry opportunities, release to do ministry
  • Spiritual parent: explain discipleship process, release to disciple another with your help, release to disciple alone

Strengthening Local Churches Missionary Church, Inc Dan Riemenschneider

Description of a Discipled Person

  • Personal Bible study
  • Meeting together as part of a church
  • Serve others
  • Pray
  • Give to others
  • Be in relationship
  • Humble
  • Share faith to those who will listen

Mastering the Discipleship Process (SCMD)

  • Moving the spiritually dead toward life: Share
  • Nurturing spiritual infants: Share
  • Guiding spiritual children: Connect
  • Training spiritual young adults: Minister
  • Releasing spiritual parents: Disciple

Main Engine: Small Group Bible-storying method (called Orality)

• What new thing did you discover in the story?
• What did you learn about God?
• What did you learn about people?
• Which person is most like you in the story?
• What will you take away from this discussion?
• What will you do with what you have learned?


Appendix Section

Appendix A: Summary and profile of each state of spiritual growth

  • General characteristics of each stage
  • Typical beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes of each stage
  • Spiritual needs of each stage
  • Key phrases from each stage (“the phrase from the stage”)

Appendix B: Recommended resources for disciple-makers

  • Sharing with the spiritually dead
  • Sharing with spiritual infants
  • Connecting with spiritual children
  • Ministering with spiritual young adults

Appendix C: Spiritual facts (13 are listed)

Appendix D: Presentation of the gospel (bridge illustration)