“The very first disciples – the twelve hand-picked by Jesus Himself – were part of a group. This is the model that Jesus, the architect of discipleship, established for us to follow.”
Gallaty’s work on discipleship is a reputable, applicable resource for every pastor and church leader. Simply put, it is one of the best discipleship resources of our time. Not because of its applicability but because each and every word is bathed in the Scriptures. Although Gallaty has received several higher educational degrees, his writing is very practical and understandable to the pastor or the lay leader.
Gallaty’s main point is this: true, committed followers are going to be a part of the Kingdom work of making disciples.
The first half of the book is committed to giving a biblical foundation for making disciples and becoming a part of something that is much larger than you yourself. The author begins the work with his personal testimony of how the Lord radically saved him from a $200 per day drug addiction to now being a pastor of a multi-site mega-church in Hendersonville, TN. After giving a short testimony, Gallaty begins a thorough exposition of the Great Commission from Matthew 28. From this passage of Scripture, there are three main imperatives that Jesus gave those who were witnesses of His ascension: go, teach, and obey.
“Christ did not come to make Christians, He came to make disciples.“
When we truly study the Word of God, specifically on making disciples, we find out that the Church has gone wrong for so many years in their methods of reaching people. For far too long, we have depended upon programs and evangelism exclusively to bring in people to our churches. However, evangelism is still a necessary ministry for the Church. In fact, in the book Gallaty gives a table comparing “Evangelistic Addition vs. Discipleship Multiplication. It compares a person reaching one person per day per year to a disicpler making two disciples for two years and then multiplying to more groups. Here is an example of the data:
What the above picture does not give is a third column of Gallaty’s philosophy of discipleship – the D-group. A D-group mirrors the relationship between Jesus and Peter, James, and John, i.e. 1 discipler to 3 disciples. When you meet for one year, then multiply groups, after sixteen years the number exceeds 43 million people, not just reached with the gospel, but discipled into spiritual maturity as well.
If you are a numbers person, here is your statistics. As you well know, numbers aren’t everything. What truly matters in ministry is the spiritual health of your congregation and Gallaty does not neglect this aspect of ministry. In Part 2 of Growing Up, he creates an acronym C.L.O.S.E.R. to help disciplers grow spiritually themselves, but also help others in their walk with Christ. The acronym is as follows:
- Communicate: Knocking on Heaven’s Door
- Learn: Mining For Gold
- Obey: Follow the Leader
- Store: An Eternal Investment Strategy
- Evangelize: Show and Tell
- Renew: H.E.A.R.ing from God
These six steps help anyone who is struggling for stability in their walk with Christ and specifically struggling to disciple others. Throughout this acronym, you will find topics like prayer, studying the Word, obeying the words of Christ, discipling others, evangelizing your community, and your own personal, spiritual growth.
By giving this acronym, Gallaty gives us a challenge of growing C.L.O.S.E.R. to God by these six activities and the best thing about them is that they all work together for your spiritual good. In all fairness, you cannot have one without the rest. Any one of us can communicate with God and not know Him. Any one of us can share Jesus with someone else and not know God. Any one of us can habitually have a daily time with Christ and still not know Him. These must all go hand in hand and we must have a heart that desires God’s will over our own.
At the end of the book, specifically the last thirty pages, are resources for helping you in your discipleship journey. From prayer logs to accountability questions, Gallaty gives you the resources you need to effectively disciple and “entrust (2 Tim. 2:2)” to the next generation of believers.
This book will change your life as a disciple of Christ and will most definitely change the dynamic of your church if you will take what you learn, heed it, and apply it.