If you’re looking for discipleship resources that will give direction to your approach, Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley and Philip Nation ought to be on your reading list.
A research driven project, the book is based on the discoveries of an extensive research project launched by Lifeway in 2010 “to survey believers about their spiritual lives and level of maturity.” Specifically, the research was designed “to uncover what kind of discipleship is truly transformational.” Building on the Transformational Church survey and the research behind Brad Waggoner’s book The Shape of Faith to Come, the research focused on “major areas of life where spiritual maturity takes place.”
The combined research identified eight attributes of discipleship that point to spiritual health; biblical factors that consistently show up in the life of a maturing believer. The eight attributes are:
- Bible Engagement
- Obeying God and Denying Self
- Serving God and Others
- Sharing Christ
- Exercising Faith
- Seeking God
- Building Relationships
In addition to the eight attributes, a key discovery of the research is referred to as the Transformational Sweet Spot. Using the metaphor of the sweet spot on a tennis racket or a baseball bat, the transformational sweet spot is formed by the intersection of truth given by healthy leaders to someone in a vulnerable posture.
There are a number of very good aspects to Transformational Discipleship. The first 63 pages provide a thorough theological overview of the concept. This is essential reading for a church staff or leadership team. Parts 1, 2, and 3 provide an insight packed examination of the individual ingredients of the transformational sweet spot.
Not intended as a model, the authors instead have assembled the kind of thinking that just might uncover the framework that makes authentic disciples; not just knowledge or moral behavior, but the “ongoing renewal of the heart.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? Transformational Discipleship is resource that will absolutely open your eyes to new ways of thinking about how transformation happens and where to focus your design and effort.