Contagious Disciple Making by David and Paul Watson is a practical and readable guide to obeying the Great Commission. The book is arranged in two parts, the mindset of a disciple-maker and the practices of a disciple-maker.
Part One: The Mindset of a Disciple-Maker
The first section describes some of the philosophic presuppositions that a person should embrace which will enable him to carry out Christ’s mandate to make disciples. The authors present eight principles to that end:
- Disciple-makers embrace lessons taught by failure.
- Disciple-makers deculturalize, not contextualize the gospel.
- Disciple-makers plant the gospel rather than reproduce their religion.
- Disciple-makers realize how hard completing the Great Commission will be for strategies and organizations built around branded Christianity.
- Disciple-makers realize the structure of the community determines the strategy used to make disciples.
- Disciple-makers realize their culture and religious experience can negatively influence their disciple-making unless they are very careful.
- Disciple-makers understand the importance of obedience.
- Disciple-makers make disciples, not converts.
Part one contains some important biblical principles that readers should read, digest, and reflect upon.
Two specific critiques are worth noting. First, there are some negative feelings toward denominations that I take exception with. The authors maintain that “the denominational education and indoctrination process make it impossible to fulfill the Great Commission.” The statement is a land mine which is never supported with facts.
Second, the chapter on contextualization is an overreaction and needs adjustment to be adjusted. In addition, the concern with “doctrine-centered” discipleship is disturbing and also needs to be adjusted.
Part Two: The Practices of a Disciple-Maker
The second half of the book is geared more to people in the trenches who are actually making disciples. The authors stress the need for prayer, engaging lost people, finding a person of peace, discovery groups, establishing churches, leadership, and mentoring.
While much of this material is valuable, the section on finding a person of peace is especially worth reading: “The Person of Peace is the one God has prepared to receive the Gospel into a community for the first time … This person may be from any walk of life, but he or she will welcome you, listen to your message, help you with your livelihood, and allow you to stay in his or her home and influence his or her family and the community for the sake of the Gospel.” Such an approach has been fruitful around the world and will serve disciple-makers well.
Contagious Disciple Making is a worthwhile read that has minor bumps along the way. It is a journey worth taking.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.