Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow

By Mark Howell

If you’re looking for discipleship resources that will give direction to your approach, then 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:

  1. Bible Engagement
  2. Obeying God and Denying Self
  3. Serving God and Others
  4. Sharing Christ
  5. Exercising Faith
  6. Seeking God
  7. Building Relationships
  8. Unashamed

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.

Mark Howell

Mark Howell is the founder of SmallGroupResources.net, committed to helping churches launch, build, and sustain healthy small group ministries. He's also the Pastor of Discipleship Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church.  Having served as small group pastor at Woodlands Church and Lake Avenue Church, Mark is a seasoned veteran with experience in both the contemporary and the traditional church. In addition, he served as a consultant with Lifetogether and as a host for the Purpose Driven Campaign Coaching programs. You can read Mark's blog at www.markhowelllive.com or follow him on twitter.