My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Review: Following Jesus: A Year of Disciplemaking and Movement-Building in the Gospels

Following Jesus: A Year of Disciplemaking and Movement-Building in the Gospels Following Jesus: A Year of Disciplemaking and Movement-Building in the Gospels by Peter Roennfeldt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are not any surprising revelations here; for the most part, the book follows the common interpretation of the Gospel stories, and where it appears to diverge from the academic consensus, the difference is nuanced enough to make little difference. For example, the claim that the “East” was dominated by animism and multiple gods is a little off considering the magi (from which this section was talking about) were members of the Zoroastrian Priestly caste (which is actually monotheistic) … which doesn’t really change the exercise much; fortunately most of these historical commentaries are cited, so you can follow-up with the source if desired (a lot of which seems to come from Theologian Mark Edwards). The main contribution (outside of the familiar stories told in an effective outline form that is useful for group study) here is actually the Reflection Questions and Sharing Exercises at the end of each of the 50 Guides divided across five “phases” presumably organized by maturity of discipleship that seem to correspond to a model of: Connect, Engage, Involve, Equip and Send. In clear, simple language the author presents easy to remember and use “gems” for understanding the call to discipleship.

Phase 1: Preparation - For a Life of Multiplication

- Guide 1: Jesus as a Baby

- Guide 2: Jesus as a Jewish Child

- Guide 3: Jesus the Carpenter

- Guide 4: Jesus’ Cousin - Preparing the Way for the Kingdom

Phase 2: Foundations - Modeling Multiplication

- Guide 5: Transition Experiences - Jesus’ Baptism and Temptations 

- Guide 6: “Come and See” - Jesus Calls His First Disciples

- Guide 7: “Follow Me” - Jesus’ Second Invitation 

- Guide 8: Jesus’ Reliance on Holy Spirit Power (Acronym)

- Guide 9: Jesus, the One Temple!

- Guide 10: Meeting Nicodemus - A Member of the Jewish Council

- Guide 11: Explosive Growth - More Disciples than John

- Guide 12: A Samaritan Woman Conversing with a Despised Relative

- Guide 13: A Royal Official - Healing Gentiles

- Guide 14: Essential Frames of Jesus’ Movement Building

Phase 3: Participation - Equipping for Expanded Outreach 

- Guide 15: On the Move - Major Transitions 

- Guide 16: Healing at Bethesda Pool - On Sabbath!

- Guide 17: “Come Fish with Me” - Jesus Invites Participation

- Guide 18: Fishing with Jesus - Trips One through Four

- Guide 19: Fishing with Jesus - trips Five and Six

- Guide 20: Fishing with Jesus - trips Seven

- Guide 21: More Sabbath Controversies - What Was It This Time?

- Guide 22: Essential Frames of Jesus’ Movement Building

Phase 4:  Leadership Multiplication  - Movement through Sacrificial Love

- Guide 23: A Night in Prayer - Choosing Leaders

- Guide 24: Jesus’ Upside-Down Game Plan - Invitation Four

- Guide 25: Leadership and Authority

- Guide 26: Leadership and Doubt

- Guide 27: Leadership and Gratitude

- Guide 28: Leadership and Rejection

- Guide 29: Leadership and Movement Foundations

- Guide 30: Leadership and Tough Assignments

- Guide 31: Leadership in Times of Crisis

- Guide 32: Leadership and Defection

- Guide 33: Leadership and Prejudice

- Guide 34: Leadership and the Rock

- Guide 35: Leadership and Team Politics

- Guide 36: What Was Jesus’ Idea of Church

- Guide 37: Essentials Shared Plainly and Openly

- Guide 38: The Person of Peace and the Steps to Multiplication

- Guide 39: Jesus’ Radical Worldview Affirmed 

- Guide 40: Jesus’ Key Disciple-making Principles Affirmed

- Guide The Last Come First

Phase 5: Movements - Through Holy Spirit Anointing

- Guide 42: Fruitfulness - Who Gives a Fig?

- Guide 43: Love - The Most Important Command

- Guide 44: Faithfulness - Watching and Working

- Guide 45: The Disinherited - “What She Has Done Will Be Told”

- Guide 46: Subversive Humility - On the Path of Life

- Guide 47: Succession to Holy Spirit Presence

- Guide 48: Sacrifice for Others - “Greater Love Has No One Than This”

- Guide 49: Passionate Witness to the Good News

- Guide 50: “Receive the Spirit: - Invitation Five

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#FollowingJesus #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.