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by Mark Tidsworth and Ircel Harrison
If you are looking for a “program in a box/book” to transform your Christian education and discipleship programs at the congregational level, you will need to rethink your presuppositions as you read and work through the ideas in this pivotal work. A twentieth-century mentality will not carry you very far into the movement contemplated by Tidsworth and Harrison. This is an urgent call for the church to realign with the nature of the twenty-first-century world of which we are a part. If for no other reason, this book is a significant read. The authors support their discussion with clear biblical and spiritual insights. The chapters also provide some good contemporary background from others who are writing and thinking about church development. Reading this book will help bring the reader up to date on leadership, church culture, change, and the general state of God’s church in the twenty-first century. All around us we hear moaning about how the church has lost its place in the world. Disciple Development Coaching is a highly relational movement that has the potential to empower all Christians to find their places in the world. It also locates the responsibility for the church’s mission in the hands, hearts, and minds of all disciples. The chapters are set forth in a highly linear and logical manner as the authors explain thoroughly their proposal. It is a “working read.” The reader must place herself in the text and move through exercises in the context of a training manual. Yet, this is not a method or program. The entire foundation is relational, almost natural. One wonders why we didn’t figure this out a long time ago. The relationship between the coach and the disciple is a movement through conversation with a major emphasis on listening and empowering the disciple to develop competencies already available in his frame of Christian reference. The coach and the disciple ask, listen, explore, design, commit, and support in a shared experience that has a natural move back and forth. There is no beginning or end; it is a relational process that is part of an intentional long-term way of life.
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