Saturday, July 25, 2009

The LOST ART of Disciple Making by Leroy Eims

At a time I was watching people (myself included) choose from a catalogue of things considered 'meaningful', 'important', or 'necessary' in relation to helping others, I wondered how far along the maze of life and how near towards fulfillment we are actually leading people. Not every activity exerted in a maze is fruitful when you see the big picture; most are merely expenditure of time.

Perhaps the imagery of being lost in a maze drew me to the title 'The Lost Art ...'. I was drawn to our basic calling as believers: to make disciples of all nations. It reminds me of good old classics like 'The Character of the Lord's Worker' [previously called 'The Normal Christian Worker'] by Watchman Nee. In the Christiandom of feed me, love me, give me, too few are saying let me, send me, use me. This is a book for those interested to reproduce their lives in Christ in the lives of others around them in a way likened to passing the baton.

On page 28, Leroy wrote that when Jesus said 'It is finished' (John 19:30), He was not referring to the multitude He healed, the miracle food for the masses, the deliverance of the demonized, or the thousands He touched, but the twelve men He discipled. I like it when he wrote that His life on the Cross He gave to millions, but His life on earth, He gave to twelve. He warned that we have only so much emotional reserve, spiritual and emotional capacity that it will be foolhardy not to take stock of who we spend time with doing what - with the big picture in mind. 'A common mistake is to try to do too much, too quickly, and with too many.'

This kind of gives me the picture of a chef who keeps running out of the kitchen to attend to the emotional or physical needs of the diners and losing sight on the purpose of the restaurant just because the needs of the diners seem more pressing and urgent. This does not mean that the chef should not care for the diners in his establishment but that he needs to be wise to know that he cannot meet all of everyone's needs.

The appendix contains extensive practical guidelines on how to build up someone in evangelism, meditating on the Word, prayer, reading the Word, Christian fellowship, etc. But the chapters I enjoy are 'the Workers Are Still Few' that describes the characteristics of potential workers, 'How to Develop Workers' that includes the wrong attitudes some disciple makers have of exclusivity over their disciples that stunt the growth of those they develop, 'The Need for Leadership' which identifies the qualities of a potential leader, and issues the warning that if you accumulate a bunch of hangers-on, the good people will leave you, and 'How to Train Leaders'.

This book reference leaders as those who multiply themselves into others through making disciples.

Where you can get it: SKS Books S$15.50
Level of impact: Affirming
Timing of book: Energy when I need it!