Five Must Reads On Discipleship

Among the ever-growing number of books on discipleship, some worth reading every year and some not at all, it can be hard to know where to start.

These are my favorites, my top five must reads:

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford

Brilliant read on learning and spiritual growth through physical enactment, which, I’m afraid we’ve forgotten, should constitute discipleship.

“The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy. They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth. He can simply point: the building stands, the car now runs, the lights are on. Boasting is what a boy does, because he has no real effect in the world. But the tradesman must reckon with the infallible judgment of reality, where one’s failures or shortcomings cannot be interpreted away. His well-founded pride is far from the gratuitous “self-esteem” that educators would impart to students, as though by magic.”

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If you could only read one book on discipleship, this is it.

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

The Master Plan of Evangelism by Dr. Robert Coleman

This book is simply a classic must-read for understanding biblical discipleship.

“It is good to tell people what we mean, but it is infinitely better to show them. People are looking for a demonstration, not an explanation.”

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

No book better demonstrates the kind of insightful, personal, rich, soul shaping counsel that must be present in a discipleship relationship.

“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…. be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend.”

The Lost Art of Disciple Making by Leroy Eims

Clear and comprehensive book on the whys and how-to’s of disciple-making.

“Our first and foremost responsibility as Christians is to maintain a strong, day-by-day abiding fellowship with the Lord Jesus by feeding on His Word.”