Discipleship in Community
A Theological Vision of the Future
by Mark E. Powell, John Mark Hicks, and Greg McKinzie
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Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” So, what exactly are we doing?
Western churches face a difficult future marked by numerical decline and evident signs of shrinking cultural influence. But Discipleship in Community wisely asks the church to go back to basics. What does it mean to follow Jesus? What does a life of discipleship look like?
Trusted scholars Mark Powell, John Mark Hicks, and Greg McKinzie invite you to consider how good theology can lead to better, more intentional discipleship. In Discipleship in Community you will learn
• how the language of Trinity matters to everyday disciples;
• how God’s plan and mission is unfolding and how, as disciples, we can participate in that mission;
• how the Bible is more than a book of facts and how it guides us into a relationship with God;
• how baptism and the Lord’s Supper allow us to experience God’s saving power; and
• how local churches can encourage intentional discipleship.
“When I return from speaking at a Churches of Christ event and tell my pastor or academic friends, they often ask me, “What do the Churches of Christ believe?” From now on I will say, read this book. But this book will do something else: it will introduce the Churches of Christ to the broader movement with which they have many deep affinities—evangelicalism. That will be good for all of us.”
—Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary
“The gospel. Obedient discipleship. The church’s saving mission. While offering a stirring vision of what the always-reforming church has been and can become, Discipleship in Community seizes the pulsating heart of Scripture. It avoids scholarly minutiae, offering practical advice for how individuals and congregations can remain faithfully rooted in the activity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
—Matthew W. Bates, Quincy University
“In an age in which religious affiliation continues to wither, Christian communities are burdened with the charge of effectively communicating who they are and why that matters. This book does precisely that for the heirs of the Stone-Campbell Movement by lifting up discipleship not simply as a theme from the past, but as the way forward to a hopeful future. I commend the authors for approaching their tradition with such care and concern. This book represents institutional charity—that is, love of a tradition—at its best.”
—Daniel Castelo, Seattle Pacific University
“Discipleship in Community is a vital and careful plea for the reexamination of theological commitments within Churches of Christ. A fair and attentive book, the authors offer constructive proposals for a new, yet thoroughly biblical, vision of how to emerge from the current crisis facing those who embrace the restoration tradition.”
—Arthur Sutherland, Loyola University Maryland
“In Discipleship in Community, Powell, Hicks, and McKinzie provide a perceptive analysis of the key theological ideas of our heritage. Beyond analysis, the gift of this book is its usefulness in showing how these historic ideas may shape our hearts and lives for and through obedience. In this sweet participation in the practical life of the church, we follow Jesus, who makes all things new.
—Carisse Mickey Berryhill, Abilene Christian University
“The future of any tradition depends on its ability to draw upon the resources of its own past to overcome or adapt to whatever challenges the present and future may bring. That is precisely what this volume does. Churches of Christ need not surrender their unique identity in order to transcend the liabilities that beset many of their congregations. Rather, they may affirm the keenest insights of their founders while moving beyond them in ways that draw upon the equally keen insights of the broader Christian tradition, both past and present.”
—John Nugent, Great Lakes Christian College
“We are truly indebted to Powell, Hicks, and McKinzie for a timely and thought-provoking book. I boldly predict that this book will spark renewed theological reflection in the fellowship of Churches of Christ and beyond.”
—Edward J. Robinson, author of Show Us How You Do It: Marshall Keeble and the Rise of Black Churches of Christ in the United States, 1914-1968
“Disciple making is the core mission of the local church. I commend this book to everyone within Churches of Christ who hungers to learn more about disciple making and the best path for churches into the future.”
—Bobby Harrington, point-leader of discipleship.org and renew.org
“In Discipleship in Community, Powell, Hicks, and McKinzie offer a convincing theological vision for Churches of Christ. Deeply grounded in their knowledge of the history of the Churches of Christ and the larger Stone-Campbell Restoration movement, their book brings Churches of Christ into dialogue with the early Christian communities in and beyond the New Testament period, and with other Christian communities today. Highly recommended, not just for Churches of Christ folks, but for other Christians intent on understanding the ethos and directions of their churches.”
—Ted Campbell, Southern Methodist University