About This Blog

Friday, November 30, 2012

"Multiply" (Francis Chan and Mark Beuving)

TITLE: Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples
AUTHOR: Francis Chan and Mark Beuving
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook Publishers, 2012, (336 pages).

Many of us will agree that discipleship is a core part of any Church life. In fact, followers of Jesus are all called to be disciples of Christ. Yet, all we need is to ask any Church going believer, "What is discipleship?" they may have jumbled thoughts. Let me paraphrase some of the concerns at the beginning of the book.

  • Too many Christians are stuck in one location rather than spreading to many other places
  • We have dichotomized ministry for ministers and laid-back living for the rest of us
  • We are more guilty of ignoring the Great Commission
  • We are afraid of evangelism
  • We have reduced discipleship to a mere "program" in church
Instead, we are all to enjoy the grace of God, spread the grace of God, and to live out the grace of God in many places. The way to do this is two: Be a disciple and make a disciple along the way. Only when we grow a shared passion for the Great Commission can we truly multiply the grace of God for God. The book is meant to be a resource to equip readers to multiple disciples. Two things define discipleship in this book. Firstly, disciples are to teach what they learn. We cannot approach this book as something we absorb for ourselves and tuck it away somewhere in our heads. We are to constantly revise it, pray it, think it, analyze it, and to practise it. Secondly, the book is to inspire us to "share life, not just information." Made to be highly relational, we cannot read this book alone. It requires us to interact with others. It requires a leader and a follower, a teacher and a student, and to walk the talk even as we talk the walk.

This book goes into the basics of what it means to be a disciple, to be a Church, to understand the Old and New Testaments, and to be equipped toward the Great Commission. Questions are interspersed into the texts. One may be forgiven for seeing this book as too simple for any learning. That is precisely the point. Discipleship is never meant to be a difficult thing. The reason why many of us have "jumbled thoughts" about discipleship is because we have failed to obey what we have read or heard. In a nutshell, discipleship is a relationship with Christ, not just a program. This relationship is a multiplier type. We imitate Christ. We show others and encourage others to do the same, and they influence their friends similarly. The heart of a disciple is not "religious activity" but the love of God. 

Living as a Church is also an antidote against widespread individualism. The authors understand Church as: "a group of redeemed people that live and serve together in such a way that their lives and communities are transformed." They bear one another's burdens. They go to the heart of the problem in people. They are transformed people in the gospel. It is like an organization where all engines are firing, where every member is a disciple by example. The Church is also both local and global. There are tips to study the Bible. Unlike other books that tend to offer all the content first, and the discussion questions later, this book mixes in the questions at the end of each teaching passage. This forces readers to grapple with practical details.

The parts on studying the Old and New Testaments is like a mini survey of how to study the Bible. It is clearly intended with the layperson in mind. Written in a simple way, the authors tell the story of God in the Bible, and asks us constantly, "What are we going to do about it?" 

My Thoughts

From time to time, every Christian needs to be reminded of the need to be disciples as well as to make disciples. This book is both theory and practice combined into one. It combines the knowledge to be learned and lists out relevant steps to put knowledge into practice. This is why this book has been designed to be used through weekly study guide sessions, to understand what the Bible says, a 5-minute video to watch, and to challenge ourselves to do something about it. There is no high-fives merely on understanding what the Bible says. Someone has said that one learns best not by knowledge but by obedience. Only when we start to obey, we will start to learn. The moment we refuse to put our learning to action, we have not really learned anything. The study guides can be downloaded at multiplymovement.com and I urge readers to use this resource frequently. In fact, the entire book is available free on that website. However, if you do intend to use the material in the form of a group study and practice, I will encourage you to buy the printed material. It is much better than to print multiple copies for your group in loose sheets. From experience, loose sheets easily get lost. Books are neat and more compact. At the same time, it is easier to carry around.

If your Church or small group is looking for a book to do your small group study, you will not go wrong when you choose this book. I highly recommend this book for three reasons. First, it is simple. Second, through the questions,  it is engaging. Third, it is good food for discussion and practice.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by David C. Cook Publishers and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

No comments:

Post a Comment