A Pathway for Multiplying Spectators into Mature Disciples
by E. K. Strawser
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Pub Date 11 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 10 Aug 2023
Discipleship without mission is discipleship without Christ.
The church often lacks maturity and missional impact because discipleship is at its periphery. In order to get discipleship to the center, leaders need a locally rooted, culturally contextual discipleship pathway to tether disciples who are disciplemakers to the neighborhood or network around them.
Pastor and discipler E. K. Strawser shows that when discipleship becomes central to your leadership and community, then discipleship becomes central to congregational mission and cultural renewal. Centering Discipleship is a gutsy practice-based guidebook for leaders who are doing the hard work of re-imagining and re-structuring their churches and communities to turn spectators into missional, mature followers of Jesus.
"E. K. Strawser helps the church refocus our attention on real discipleship. This book is for deep thinkers who want to see Christians focus on what really matters to God with regard to who the church is and how to act that out well in today's world. Strawser is well practiced and passionate about what she teaches here."
-Linda Bergquist, church planting catalyst for the North American Mission Board and coauthor of City Shaped Churches
"Whether you're planting, re-missioning, or recalibrating a church, Centering Discipleship is a field guide and compass all in one. This book is practical and tested in real communities looking to make disciples for the sake of God's mission, and it is a tool that helps us to chart a path when the old maps no longer work. With surgical precision and humility, Eun Strawser helps us unmask the problems that keep us stuck and imagine how our churches can disciple their way into the future."
-Josh Hayden, author of Sacred Hope and senior pastor of First Baptist Church Ashland
"Eun Strawser is passionate about putting discipleship at the front and center of all we do as God's people. And her book, Centering Discipleship, bears testimony that when a church gets serious about really following Jesus, everything changes. This practical book is both compelling, as it is rooted in a lived story, and impressive, as it suggests practical ways to make this happen in your church."
-Debra Hirsch, cofounder of Forge Mission Training Network and author of Redeeming Sex
"Centering Discipleship is a masterful book that powerfully illuminates the essentials of disciplemaking. By calling readers out of programs and into contextualized pathways that create lasting and vital transformation, Eun Strawser offers the keys to creating not only mature Jesus-followers but also movements of disciples. Read this brilliant book and put Eun's decades of learning and wisdom into practice."
-Lisa Rodriguez-Watson, national director of Missio Alliance
"I've been waiting for a book that uncovers our assumptions about discipleship and enables us to develop a holistic discipleship pathway that is truly transformative. The wait is over! For this is exactly what Centering Discipleship does, and more. . . . It will enable your church to join God in the renewal of your neighborhood and cultivate social good that gives witness to the good news. Strawser equips us to develop a local discipleship pathway in light of the place where God has sent us."
-JR Woodward, national director of the V3 Church Planting Movement and author of Creating a Missional Culture, from the foreword
"Discipleship is often misunderstood and left undone in the American church today. But Eun Strawser, drawing from her wealth of wisdom gained from on-the-ground experience leading and discipling missional communities, serves as a wonderful guide for the rest of us in crafting our own contextualized pathways—not another cookie-cutter program or curriculum to implement uncritically—for following Jesus in mission and in transformation where God has called us. This is a rich resource, grounded in missional theology and full of practical wisdom, essential for everyone who dreams of the church as the community of the kingdom on mission and desires to join the work of seeing the dream realized."
-Kyuboem Lee, director and associate professor of missiology at Missio Seminary
"In the contemporary life of the local church, discipleship has become paramount. Eun Strawser has taken the complex and challenging ministerial phenomenon and converted it into a wonderful array of practical applications that would be helpful for any church regardless of context. I was totally impressed by the way she handled discipleship pathways by utilizing the progression of past recipes to local cuisine. The chapter on the four spaces as they relate to discipleship in culture is definitely my favorite in terms of ease of language and ease of use. I know that many churches will be blessed by Eun's handling of this much-needed dialogue and modeling."
-Wayne D. Faison, senior pastor of East End Baptist Church and executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia
"Centering Discipleship is a powerful handbook for any leader who wants to escape consumer models of Christianity and help their church pursue the Great Commission. Both erudite and practical, with years of experience, E. K. Strawser describes how to design adaptable, biblical, Jesus-shaped pathways of discipleship and evaluate their effectiveness. She reveals how to identify where church communities function in an unbiblical way and how to address these issues so discipleship can become central. Strawser shows how to implement the practices she has developed so that disciples produce disciples and a growing community begins to multiply. Highly recommended!"
-Paul Maconochie, team leader for Uptick with the Baptist General Association of Virginia
"E. K. Strawser's book Centering Discipleship is relevant and prophetic. In the Western world, modern church growth has unfortunately become identified by an increase in numbers, while discipleship is a catchy phrase with limited emphasis in the life of the congregation. No wonder: discipleship is hard work and requires patience, perseverance, and time. Strawser's stories about how she implemented the five discipleship core essentials should be an encouragement to any pastoral team committed to the same principles that Jesus used in his ministry to develop his disciples. I hope that many church leaders will read this book and determine how to contextualize these principles in their own setting."
-Kathy H. Dudley, founder and president of Imani Bridges and founding member of the Christian Community Development Association
"I wish E. K. Strawser's book had been around when I first started planting churches and coaching planters twenty years ago. Strawser does something few have done: she gives a holistic, transformational, communal, Jesus-soaked vision. And she lays out the practical pathway needed for each of us to properly discover and contextualize discipleship in our specific cultural, economic, geographic, modal, vocational, and ecclesiological settings. My heart is beating faster just thinking about the disciples that will be multiplied through this work! This will be my go-to resource for church planters and leaders in years to come."
-Yucan Chiu, senior director of Redeemer City to City, kingdom diversity catalyst for Stadia Church Planting, and founder of the Ethnos Network
"In this eminently practical book, E. K. Strawser gives us a crystal-clear picture of what discipleship is (and isn't) and lays out a simple rubric for developing a reproducible discipleship pathway for any context. Because she draws from her own rich, on-the-ground experience of making disciples and equipping communities for mission, Strawser has a way of making profound truths accessible and doable. This is the book I wish I'd had when I planted my first church."
-Ben Sternke, author of Having the Mind of Christ and pastor at The Table, Indianapolis