Friday, March 19, 2010

The Trellis and The Vine

I read this book recently, and admit that I did a little bit of skim-reading at times. It was readable in a couple of hours, that way. (I think that is a plus, which you may guess by the stack of book-marked tomes I've half-read.)

I attended UNSW in the 90s and regularly went to Campus Bible Study for most of that time. Despite not being a 'Bloke Worth Watching' (which I note has been pc-ed up) I have experienced this model of apprenticeship and discipling first-hand.

I enjoyed the explanation of the principle and the exploration of how it might look in practice. It felt familiar to me, and reassured me that vine growth is possible. In fact it's not rocket science. It is a relief to know that there is not some secret to growth.

I've also perused Andrew Katay's comments on the book. He does have a point about the use of metaphor, but I don't think that reduces what this book has to teach us. He also noted a focus on 'reading the bible one to one', which, if taken literally, is not a full picture of discipleship. Paul talked of 'sharing his life' with those he discipled (1 Thessalonians 2:8).

My experience of being discipled has been that it has always expanded beyond bible-reading together. I have grown from the experience of sharing in another person's life. However, if that sharing had not involved the foundation of God's word, the cutting of his word to my bone and sinew, it would not have grown me as a disciple.

I would summarise the thesis of this book as being...
In order to grow the church, we must put time, energy and prayer into growing individuals in the church. Call it discipleship (I note Jesus did like this term), call it mentoring or call it the development of gifts and calling. The result of discipling people is that they will begin to see the value of discipling people, and start doing it, too. Classic New Testament church growth.

This is the great thing about this book, it is something we can all do. We can all be involved in the ministry of growing disciples. I look around me and there is a multitude of ways that I can work to be involved in God's maturing of his people. It helped me to see the work as possible.

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