In Follow the Master Paul Barreca is offering a helpful, concise discussion of discipleship. He primarily follows the pattern given by Jesus in His discipleship of the Twelve. I appreciated his observation that Jesus’ method was very similar to God’s instruction to Israel found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Banking off this, Barreca sees discipleship best taking place through use of example and gradually entrusting believers with spiritual responsibility (p. 31).
The author believes all Christians are disciples (pp. 37-38) even though the actual word is replaced by other descriptions in Acts and the epistles (p. 36). Whether we are developing mature disciples is not subjective, rather the author draws from John 15:1-17 five marks of a mature follower of Christ (p. 53). Four models of how to develop disciples are discussed: traditional (church attendance), follow-up programs, one-on-one and small groups. Barreca favors the latter in conjunction with the other three, and in the context of the church (pp. 75-87). However, since small groups can be notoriously inconsistent, running the gamut from superficial to in-depth, more direction is needed if small groups are to be spiritually productive. For this the author points us to his 34 chapter Follow the Master: A Discipleship Course for Growing Christians.
I would take exception with Barreca’s understanding of call to ministry (p. 46) and his apparent appreciation for the Experiencing God books and materials (p. 54), but overall Follow the Master is a quick and useful read on the all-important topic of discipleship.
Follow the Master, How Jesus Made Disciples by Paul Barreca (Larkspur, Co: 2017) 93 pp. + IX, paper, $12.95.
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel