Growing True DisciplesGeorge Barna founded a market research firm studying non-profits and Christian groups. He has written several books, including Growing True Disciples: New Strategies for Producing Genuine Followers of Christ. For me, the book is a revisitation of that formative revolution in my own spiritual life that I first realized in The Divine Conspiracy: igniting people’s passion for God rather than trying to drag them to God with teachings, programs, begging, etc.

Barna uses lots of data (some responsibly, some irresponsibly) to support his arguments that the church at large is not producing genuine disciples of Christ, and then discusses ways to promote effective discipleship. It’s an easy read, compact and simple.

Barna also examines 5 models used by 5 churches that “facilitate effective disciple making,” then combines the best of each into a unique “supermodel” for discipleship. Curiously, neither the 5 church models nor Barna’s supermodel look very much like the passage in Acts 2:42-47 that Barna himself quotes on page 14:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

God will forgive me for procrastinating over finals week homework and studying because I’m reading Christian stuff.