What is the Difference Between Discipleship & Mentoring? By Ted Engstrom

“A discipler is one who helps an understudy (1) give up his own will for the will of God the Father, (2) live daily a life of spiritual sacrifice for the glory of Christ, and (3) strive to be consistently obedient to the commands of his Master. A mentor, on the other hand, provides modeling, close supervision on special projects, individualized help in many areas—discipline, encouragement, correction, confrontation, and a calling to accountability.” – Ted Engstrom (The Fine Art of Mentoring, recently re-published by Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2008 )

Dr. Ted W. Engstrom (1916-2006) dedicated his life to effective Christian ministry leadership. His 60 years of Christian service include careers as Christian book editor at Zondervan, president of Youth for Christ International, president of World Vision, and author of more than 50 books. He was a board member for dozens of Christian organizations and assisted religious and political leaders in 136 other countries where he stood as a model of godly leadership.

Book Review: Leadership Essentials by Greg Ogden and Daniel Meyer

Excellent Tool For Developing Maturing Christ Centered Leaders

Ogden in Meyer have done a great service to the church by putting together this helpful leadership mentoring workbook in order to bring bonding and multiplying influence to ministry oriented leadership teams. I have personally used the book for several years know with church staff, elders, deacons, interns, and in order to train budding leaders. I have found that each environment I’ve used it in, (one on one, triads, and groups up to 12) there has been good discussion, accountability, and encouragement towards Christ-like development.

The workbook is broken down into four sections with three chapters in each section:

Part One: The Character of a Leader

1)    Holy – Developing a vision of Christ-like Character

2)    Habitual – Cultivating spiritual disciplines to sustain leadership

3)    Humble – Keeping watch over your souls

Part Two: The Posture of a Leader

4)    Kneeling – Embracing servant love as our primary model

5)    Teaming – Building teams to accomplish our corporate mission

6)    Stewardship – Stewarding gifts, passions and personality

Part Three: The Vision of Leaders

7)    The Compelling Christ – Loving passionately the compelling Christ

8)    Embracing the Kingdom – Engaging people in mission

9)    Helping Others See – Lifting people out of lethargy and inertia

Part Four: The Shaping of a Leader

10) Taming Temptation – Facing the Dangers of money, sex, and power

11) Conquering Criticism – Handling criticism with humility and fortitude

12) Defeating Discouragement – Addressing disappointment, frustration, anger, and depression

Each chapter contains a core truth which flows from the Bible; a memory verse (there are actually several verses to memorize per chapter); an Inductive Bible Study with questions based on the specific topic being discussed; a classic reading on the topic; and leadership exercises or applications for each topic.

Overall it’s an excellent tool to use with current leaders; potential leaders; or even for any small group that wants to grow in the area of leadership and Christ-likeness. I have found it to be one of the best leadership development tools I have used in ministry and therefore, recommend it highly. It also makes a terrific sequel to Ogden’s previous workbook on Discipleship called Discipleship Essentials.

Book Review: What Is A Healthy Church? By Mark Dever

This book is essentially a condensed version of “Nine Marks of a Healthy Church” by Mark Dever – Pastor of a Large Conservative Baptist Church in Washington D.C. What makes this book valuable is the concise presentation of the nine practices that make for a healthy church. It is a good resource for a church staff, elder board, deacon board, or small group to go through. I used it to teach through the “nine marks” in an adult Sunday school class in the church where I am the senior pastor.

The Nine Marks of a Healthy Church are as Follows:

1)    Expository Preaching

2)    Biblical Theology

3)    A Biblical Understanding of the Good News

4)    A Biblical Understanding of Conversion

5)    A Biblical Understanding of Evangelism

6)    A Biblical Understanding Membership

7)    Biblical Church Discipline

8)    Biblical Discipleship and Growth

9)    Biblical Church Leadership

I think that any church that focuses on these areas is going to be pretty solid. However, it doesn’t guarantee health. I think character and emotional health come into play as well – e.g. – 1 Corinthians 13 talks about love being an essential quality of the church; also, many churches have good doctrine, infrastructure, and do all the above, but live in a false peace (see Peter Scazzero’s – The Emotionally Healthy Church).

Overall, I recommend this little book as an introductory primer as a good evaluation tool, containing specific areas for local churches to have a good “check list” of ideas and practices to shoot for as they seek to be more Biblical in what they do when they gather together as a local church body. For more detail then what Dever writes in this book – I would recommend the slightly larger book – Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.

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