One of the most talked about subjects in the local church today is that of discipleship. Questions such as “What model should we use?” or “How do we know what a disciple looks like?” or “Doesn’t discipleship happen naturally?” are common today. Conferences are held, workshops are offered, and books have been written to meet the growing desire of churches to be effectively engaged in the discipleship process. In his new book “Insourcing; Bringing Discipleship Back to the Local Church”, Randy Pope, lead pastor of Perimeter Church in Atlanta, Georgia lends his thoughts and convictions to this ongoing conversation.
Pope begins his book by introducing the principle of models. He writes, “models marry dream to function.” They are a means to an end. Pope begins by giving some background on commonly embraced discipleship models today. First, the Pastoral Model. He writes, “It is a model of ministry whose basic building blocks are a small, stable flock and a loving, multitalented, maintenance-oriented shepherd.” Second, the Attractional Model. Pope writes, “A new breed of Christians flocked to churches where the message, the music, and the method suited their tastes.” Third, the Influential Model. Again, he writes, “As we strengthened the hand of our ministry, we joined with other churches in our community who desired the same kind of change.” Reading that Jesus spent nearly all of His time in small group communication, Pope speaks of a model that revolves around people. In place of these three oft-accepted models, Pope and his congregation embraced a fourth model: Life on Life Missional Discipleship. This new model falls in between the pastoral and attractional models and, as Pope writes, asks the question, “Were our people becoming the right people?”
In his LOLMD model, there are five main emphases that Pope gives to the reader. They follow the acronym TEAMS. Truth: Members of the small group learn how to study the Bible on their own and bring questions back to the entire group. Equipping: Members are given specific plans to follow which are modeled before them in group with assignments given for follow-up. Accountability: Hard questions are asked of the members and behavior is challenged in a grace-filled environment. Mission: Members are challenged to take the mission of Christ into their homes and workplace. Supplication: An atmosphere of prayer is always present among the members of the group. Scattered throughout the chapters is a mock small group meeting. Pope uses these fictional characters to illustrate how the model is fleshed out in men’s and women’s groups.
All in all, Pope has written a good book that lends an interesting twist to the discipleship conversation. “Insourcing” is well-written and informative. However, there is nothing ground-breaking here. Leaders who have been following the ever-changing pursuit of discipleship through courses, conferences, and books will recognize the content here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”