ForeWord Reviews

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Growing Up

How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples

Foreword Review

Gallaty shows us the Wikipedia model of discipleship, where many volunteers are all contributing.

Growing Up: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples is an inspiring how-to book focused on forming disciple groups with the purpose of creating godly habits and evangelizing the Christian faith.

Author Robby Gallaty, a senior pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, recommends disciple groups, or D-groups, be three to five same-sex people who meet weekly. The book, written with Randall Collins, uses effective acronyms to present two key concepts to guide the groups. The first, HEAR, advises highlighting a bible passage, explaining what it means, applying it to one’s life, and responding in some way, such as with a specific prayerful statement. The second acronym, CLOSER, recommends communicating through prayer, learning, obeying, storing, evangelizing, and renewing.

Growing Up uses the popular website Wikipedia as a model to follow for discipleship, where many volunteers are all contributing, rather than only an elite group. There are several appendices serving as a mini-workbooks; including a pledge to commit to disciple-making, a spiritual journey inventory, a prayer log, and suggested readings.

The tone is conversational and friendly, and by using second person to speak to the reader, Gallaty directly engages the audience with thought-provoking questions sprinkled throughout. He also establishes his credibility on the topic early on, not only because of his work as a pastor, but because of his willingness to share how he was a former drug dealer who transformed his life. The uplifting stories and suggestions Gallaty offers for others to follow in his footsteps will reinforce beliefs for those who already support evangelization. The book provides a detailed plan to take the next step and form D-groups.

However, the book alone is unlikely to persuade people who do not already support evangelization to adopt the concept. The ideas could even be unappealing to people of Christian denominations that are not evangelical. For example, Gallaty discusses how he was raised Catholic, and he describes Catholics as people who are not as engaged as evangelicals because they do not demonstrate their faith through memorization of Bible passages. He is also very rigid and specific about what it means to be a disciple, so the book could have limited appeal beyond those who agree this approach to active discipleship is the only way to be a serious disciple of Jesus.

Growing Up is successfully designed as a manual for evangelicals looking to form disciple groups, as its depth of resources can be referred to often.

Maria Siano