This was a free ebook I downloaded from the Verge Network website. It was a quick, easy read, and while there were some helpful thoughts in it, most of what was helpful can be found better said in other resources, and the spaces in between the helpful nuggets are filled with typical post emergent calls to be more relevant, descriptive narrative portions of Scripture used in prescriptive ways and early 2000s Christian catchphrases like “love on”, “lean into”, and “incarnational” (all phrases that I have used myself btw).
While I did find Smay’s outline of Discipleship helpful, I think he may have been a little overconfident when he states: “I will give you a new framework to use to lead yourself, your family, friends, community and church on the best run ever” – as if the church had been messing up discipleship for the last 2,000 years and he is going to fix it with his 5 step process.
He lays out his framework by using 5 E-words:
Expose: the first step of discipleship is exposing people to the Gospel in a relational environment.
Embrace: next, moving from knowing about Christ to an embracing of Christ
Engage: a disciple who has truly embraced the Gospel will then live in light of it
Equip: Getting the “skillset to work from” to be successful on the journey of discipleship
Expand: Becoming disciples who make disciples who make disciples
I’m not sure what he meant by subtitling the book “Beyond the Limits of Discipleship” as these 5 E’s are much of what discipleship should be according to Scripture.
In summary, there are some helpful reminders in this book, enjoyable illustrations, and good intentions. Anyone attempting to call the church to pursue making disciples is a friend and ally in my book. However the meat contained here is more accessible and clearly presented in other books such as Radical, 9 Marks of a Healthy Church, What is a Healthy Church Member? to name a few.