Buy Book Here: Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus (9marks: Building Healthy Churches)

This short book on discipleship is a worthwhile read for any church leader involved in the process of helping others find and follow God or any Christian who wants to make a solid impact in the lives of others. Dever does well to point toward essentials of discipleship while offering a fairly complete definition of what a disciple is.

Dever divides the book into three sections that focus on “What is Discipling” this section provides a definition of discipling along with an explanation of what it entails and common objections toward it; “Where Should We Disciple”‘ this provides context on relationships that stewardship has been given for discipling others. And ends with a section on “How Should We Disciple” with some clear guidelines on how to choose someone, having clear goals, and how to invest in others in a way that develops them as a leader. The conclusion gives a concise closing to the book that is also helpful in learning to invest intentionally in others through discipling.

That, I think, is the heart of discipling: sharing rule. And what will be the result? Knowing the joy of the creating and redeeming God himself.


At the heart of Christianity is God’s desire for a people to display his character. Discipling is deliberately doing spiritual good to someone so that he or she will be more like Christ. You must follow and you must lead. You must be loved and you must love. What is a disciple? A disciple is a follower. Being a disciple of Christ, in other words, does not begin with something we do. It begins with something Christ did.

To be a Christian means to be a disciple. There are no Christians who are not disciples. Love. The motive for discipling others begins in the love of God and nothing less. He has loved us in Christ, and so we love him . In fact, the comprehensiveness of our devotion to God will be demonstrated by your love for those made in God’s image. Any claim to love for God that does not show itself in a love for neighbor is a love of a false god, another form of idolatry.

Discipling is basic to Christianity. How much clearer could it be? We might not be his disciples if we are not laboring to make disciples. Discipleship primarily occurs through churches. Churches fulfill the Great Commission, and discipling is the work of churches. God wants you to be in churches not merely so that your needs are met, but so that you will be equipped and encouraged to care for others.

Part 1: What is Discipling?

According to the Bible, a disciple of Christ disciples others by helping them to follow Christ. Is that how you are exercising your influence? The discipling life is an others-oriented life.

2 Oriented toward Others

Discipling involves transmitting the knowledge of God and his Word through every moment of life. The work of discipling occurs in the present , but it has its eyes set on the Last Day. Pastor, you will toil and struggle out of love for the members of your congregation, and they sometimes will respond by explaining how flawed and insufficient your love is. Ultimately, therefore, your toil and labor cannot root in your love for them or their love for you. It must root in your love for Christ, his love for you, and his love for them. He has purchased them with his blood. And you mean to present them to him. It is for him that you do it all.

We disciple and teach and warn so that we can present the people we love to God, because we most love him, because he most loved us. Jesus taught his disciples to live in view not of today or tomorrow, but eternity.

3 The Work of Discipling 

Discipling is initiating a relationship in which you teach, correct, model, and love. It takes great humility. Christian discipleship, in other words, isn’t just about displaying your strengths; it’s about displaying your weakness, too. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Cor. 4: 7 NIV). Discipling in the fullest sense, in other words, includes evangelism and conversion. Discipling lasts all week as members meet to talk, pray, encourage, and assist one another in the fight for love and holiness.

The goal of discipling is to see lives transformed, which means it involves more than reading a book or even the Bible with another person. Ultimately, discipling involves living out the whole Christian life before others. Christ is our example here. He “left you an example that you should follow” A church can be thick with mentoring relationships even if they are not formally called “discipling relationships.” After all, discipling really is just a bunch of church members taking responsibility to prepare one another for glory, God didn’t present Adam and Eve with a choice between discipleship and independence, but between following him and following Satan.

Chapter 4 Objections to Discipling 

Christianity is personal, yes, always!— but not private.

Part 2: Where Should We Disciple?

Chapter 5 The Local Church 

If it’s unwise to do discipling without a church, it’s worse to do church without discipling. Yet isn’t that the case with many local churches?

Chapter 6 Pastors and Members 

Pastors teach both in corporate gatherings and in one-on-one or small group settings. And one of their goals in teaching is to equip the church for works of ministry so that the church can build itself up in love (Eph. 4: 11– 16). They disciple members so that members can disciple. The local church is the natural arena for discipling relationships, because that’s where the pastors are! Those who rule well and teach, Paul says, are worthy of “double honor” (1 Tim. 5: 17). Churches don’t need programs so much as they need cultures of discipling.

Part 3: How Should We Disciple?

Chapter 7 Choose Someone 

How much God has to teach us about himself from people who are different from us! And how the gospel is displayed in our unity— not just the unity of liking each other, but the unity of learning from one another. Teach the teachable. And try to be teachable yourself.

Chapter 8 Have Clear Aims 


We live as aliens and strangers in an antagonistic world, always faced with the pressure to conform. How then do you impact how others live? By spending time with them. So much of discipling is doing what you ordinarily do but bringing people along with you and having meaningful conversations, like Jesus did. And when you invite them into your life, be transparent. Facades defeat the purpose. Invite others to learn from your mistakes. Really, the “how” of discipling is not that complicated. It’s about doing life together with other people as you all journey toward Christ.

Chapter 9 Pay the Cost 

How do you disciple? You find someone. You establish goals. And finally , you just do it. You disciple. And to do that, you have to pay the cost. The cost is time, study, prayer, and love. Christian discipleship and discipling involves loving God with our minds.

Chapter 10 Raising Up Leaders 

ADOPT A POSTURE OF LOOKING If you want to raise up leaders, you need to be on permanent lookout for more leaders. This should be your posture, especially if you are an elder. Sadly, I see pastors build walls around themselves. Those are not men who will be raising up more leaders, at least directly. I’m not saying you need to be an extrovert, but a pastor does need to find some way to spend time with other potential leaders in his church. Give people the opportunity to lead. Quietly keep a list of men in your congregation that you think might be good teachers, or public prayers, or service leaders, or Sunday school teachers.

Authority looks like an advantage only to someone who doesn’t have it. When you have the authority, pretty much all the “advantages” seem to vanish, and you begin to realize how much of it is service— a glorious service, but a service. This became clear to me years ago when I was preaching through 2 Samuel. David’s “last words” are striking: “When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth” (23: 3– 4). Good authority blesses those under it. It nourishes them.

It’s no sign of humility in me if I’m watching someone else minister and thinking either “I could do better!” or, feeling discouraged, “I could never do it that well.” God does different good things with different people. Fostering a culture of humility means working against the fear of man.

Conclusion by Jonathan Leeman

I’m not going to just tend my own garden. I’m going to help them tend theirs.” What’s more beautiful, after all: one nicely kept eight- by-eight garden plot filled with your roses? Or a whole patchwork quilt of eight-by-eight gardens filled with your roses, his tulips, her daisies, their begonias, lilies, irises, hydrangeas, carnations, and so much more?

That, I think, is the heart of discipling: sharing rule. And what will be the result? Knowing the joy of the creating and redeeming God himself.

Buy Book Here: Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus (9marks: Building Healthy Churches)