Randy Pope is not really bringing discipleship back to the local church. Rather, he is advocating a model of discipleship that he uses in his local church. INsourcing: Bringing Discipleship Back to the Local Church is a critique (not a criticism) of discipleship as a whole. This nearly 200 page book (200+ if you add the introduction and appendices) reads quickly and is extremely accessible. Throughout, Pope describes common struggles pastors face when trying to define and apply discipleship methods. The content is interspersed with shot anecdotal chapters meant to highlight the application of his method.
LOLMD – Life on Life Missional Discipleship is the model Pope uses. He agrees that small groups, corporate times of worship and other programs are important and necessary, but argues that real growth in maturity comes from life-on-life investment. Disciples grow when they can live life with their mentor. In this way they can hear what life in christ looks like, see what it looks like, practice it with feedback and eventually move on to living the life on their own. This insight was perhaps the most eye opening for me personally. Pope credits Ken Blanchard with the concept, which is summarize below.
Directing –> giving content to your disciple
Coaching –> allowing your disciple to watch you
Supporting –> watching your disciple do it and providing feedback
Delegating –> empower your disciple to go and keep doing
Of course, all of this is done with constant prayer. If pastors would keep all four steps in mind when teaching then our teaching just might have greater impact. The danger is going from “Directing” to “Delegating” without “Coaching” or “Supporting.”
The rest of the book is an argument for creating a vehicle for discipleship that will get you where you believe God is calling you. Pope provides brief glimpses into what his vehicle looks. The appendices provide some helpful tools for those who like Pope’s model. Appendix 1 is The Journey Group Covenant. Appendix 2 is their Master Curriculum Three-Year Overview. Their curriculum seems well thought out, but is far too family centric in my opinion. I’m all for family (married and have 6 children) but an outsider looking at this curriculum would think that in order to fit in they must be married and have children. However, I do appreciate that Pope is trying to ground his discipleship in the realities of life. Appendix 3 is Twenty-One Days of Personal Worship. Appendix 4 is The Difference between Small Groups and LOLMD Groups (worth reading).
As a Wesleyan I appreciate the focus on intentional discipleship. Pope’s approach is far better than most out there and is geared discipleship over the long haul, not aimed at instant gratification. All in all it was a fun read and got me thinking about our own discipleship vehicle and what needs to change. Thanks Pope.
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