Simple Principles for Everyday Disciplemaking

A discussion with Bill Mowry, Navigators Church Ministries staff and author of Walk with Me and The Ways of an Alongsider.  

Q: Your new book is titled Walk with Me: Simple Principles for Everyday Disciplemaking. Why did you choose the phrase “walk with me”?

The word “walk” has three meanings for me. One, walking usually implies a relationship. When we walk with people, we talk with one another. Walking is also something that almost anyone can do. Also, in the New Testament, “walk” can be translated as “live.” In Colossians 2:7 and other passages, it can read as “walk” or “live” in Christ. “Walk with me” uses an everyday life picture to intentionally invite one, two, or three people into a small circle of relationships to learn together how to live as Jesus’ disciples.

Q: Simplicity is one of the themes of your book. Why is simplicity so important?

I think we’ve over-complicated disciplemaking and placed it in the hands of ministry professionals (like me!). I want to help everyday believers get engaged in discipling others. Doing it “simply” means clarifying or synthesizing a subject to get to the essence or the basics of something. I want to get at the basics of disciplemaking so that many can be involved in the Great Commission.

Q: How do we complicate disciplemaking?

One book I’ve seen on the topic has thirty-two areas to disciple someone in—this is way too complicated! I learned the importance of simplicity with an experience with a fitness trainer. The first trainer I employed to get me into shape showed me a bunch of different exercises and then kept adding to them with each session. I couldn’t remember or implement all those exercises! Now I’m working with a trainer who shows me a few exercises and repeats them until I’m confident in doing them on my own.

Disciplemaking takes a few simple practices and uses them again and again. In Walk with Me I write about how to build relationships, what it means to walk simple and slow, how to develop depth in people’s lives, and what it means to live on mission. I focus on some essential biblical principles rather than providing a step-by-step approach.

Q: One of the provocative principles in your book is that we must “walk slow.” Tell us what you mean by this.

The Scriptures teach that often God is not in a hurry. He took forty years to teach Israel some lessons about trusting Him. Disciplemaking happens within the context of walking with people through health, employment, or family challenges. Our rush to complete a class deadline may blind us to what God is doing in a life outside the program. Following Christ is not done in a minute but is learned through a lifetime. We must learn to go slow, following God’s pace in someone’s life.

Q: One of your repeated themes in the book is intentionality. Why is this important?

The New Testament is pretty clear that there are some really important things that disciples need to know, be, and do. We can’t approach disciplemaking in a haphazard or totally spontaneous way. Walking “simple” means having a clear picture of a New Testament disciple and intentionally helping someone live out this picture in their lives. This picture is always in the back of our minds as we walk with others. A great picture of a disciple is The Navigators Wheel Illustration. The Wheel gives some basics that every disciple should know, be, and do.


Walk With Me: Simple Principles for Everyday Disciplemaking by Bill Mowry is published by Moody Publishers. Available at moodypublishers.com and wherever you buy books.

Connect with Bill Mowry at alongsider.com

Comments:

  1. Good solid points, Bill. Some programs fill people with head knowledge, but the heart knowledge doesn’t keep pace. Simple is better. Being “there” during someone’s life,….that shows that its real.

  2. I think also an emphasis on numbers (How many people do you have in your class? How many commitments?) can also be a detriment. I, at times, feel overwhelmed b/c i don’t think I’m taking the time necessary to fully nurture each relationship.

  3. Good stuff. Thank you for sharing it today. As the old saying goes “Keep it simple stupid” KISS. I’m 75 and still learning to witness disciple people.

  4. The Gospel (including growing to maturity) is simple and fast is slow. A thought that often nails me to the wall is that God could speed up the process but he doesn’t. If he enjoys watching me grow over time and if I want to be like him shouldn’t I find joy in the process too? It is easy for me to be results oriented instead of relationship oriented. If I want to be fruitful and teach others to be fruitful I need to focus on abiding in Christ. Great article

  5. This email came at the perfect time to encourage me. This evening I will be hosting an online group of women ages 14 through 70. God has placed it on my heart that Christian Community has to be online as well as in person, local but also global, in depth but relatable, most importantly allow for open questions but Jesus is the only answer.

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