The Disciple Making Church maintains the discipling church is the normal church and that disciple making is for everyone and every church for three important reasons. First, Christ instructed the church to take part in it. Second, Christ modeled it and third, the New Testament disciples applied it. The author advances the thesis that “unless the church makes making disciples its main agenda, world evangelism is a fantasy.”
Part one revolves around a central question, namely, what does disciple making mean? Disciple making includes introducing people to Christ, building them up in the faith, and sending them into the harvest field. Hull refers to this process as delivering them, developing them and deploying them. Foundational to the book’s theme and progression is Jesus’ four fold disciple making strategy: “Come and see,” “come and follow me,” “come and be with me,” and “remain in me.” This leads to the author’s definition of discipling which is described as “the intentional training of disciples, with accountability, on the basis of loving relationships.”
Part two discusses discipleship as it relates to the first church in Jerusalem. Hull looks at the formative stage of the early church and introduces the reader to the five priorities of a mature, reproductive congregation including a commitment to five things: Scripture, one another, prayer, worship and outreach. Finally, the author discusses institutionalism, the great enemy of intentional discipleship. This feared foe known as institutionalism resists change and slows down or even punishes innovative minds and spirits from progressing forward. The church must therefore decentralize the pastoral ministry and liberate the laity to carry out the work of God.
The third section describes what the author calls the mission church. Paul’s missionary journeys are reviewed and pertinent information regarding discipleship strategy shared. The author shows how the mission church reproduces through intentional disciple making.
Section four discusses the discipling church. Bill Hull takes time to review Paul’s last words to Timothy which prove to be fitting in this generation as well. He challenges the young pastor (and all pastors) to guard the gospel by commitment to the Word, to guard the church by leadership development and to guard the ministry by being a good model.
The final section reviews the principles of a growing church. The author traces eight principles of the discipling church through the New Testament. They include an intentional strategy, a Great Commission mindset, multiplication as methodology, accountability as a catalyst to obedience, small group ministry, apprenticeship in developing leaders, leadership selection by gifts and character and decentralization of ministry.
The Disciple Making Church is a commendable book. The author makes a strong and cogent case for making discipleship an everyday and normal part of the church. The appendix includes a very helpful guide for developing leadership community. This section alone makes the book a worthwhile read. However, this work repeats much of the information that Hull has previously covered in his other two books on this subject.