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Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time
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Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  254 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Many churchgoers complain that their churches lack a coherent plan for discipleship and spiritual growth. In turn, many church leaders lament their lack of resources to build and manage effective programs to help people become fully devoted followers of Christ. InTransforming Discipleship Greg Ogden introduces his vision for discipleship, emphasizing that solutions will no ...more
Paperback, 209 pages
Published June 19th 2003 by InterVarsity Press (first published 2003)
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The Pursuit Of God by A.W. TozerKnowing God by J.I. PackerJesus Calling by Sarah  YoungDon't Waste Your Life by John PiperThe Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Best Discipleship Books
16th out of 73 books — 87 voters
Radical by David PlattThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisWhen Helping Hurts by Steve CorbettThe Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich BonhoefferTransforming Discipleship by Greg Ogden
Making Disciples
5th out of 93 books — 45 voters

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Micah Lugg
Dec 13, 2012 Micah Lugg rated it really liked it
Shelves: discipleship
This was my first introduction to Ogden and I really liked it. He diagnosis why the church failing to make disciples and why our churches are famished because of it. This book rings with years of much thinking, praying, and practice in discipleship.

Where Coleman's The Master Plan of Evangelism gave the basic principles of discipleships, I think Ogden does a great follow-up to meat on those bones. He helps one takes discipleship from theory to reality.

One of the distinctives of Ogden's work is h
Jul 05, 2012 Rick rated it liked it
Shelves: church-life
This was a summer reading assignment for all Campus Group leaders at Trinity. I wouldn't have picked this book to read normally. He starts out with a couple of chapters on how horrible the church is doing on "making disciples." His data is probably mostly valid, but I get tired of reading all the endless criticism of the church that inundates us. Finding things wrong with the church is like shooting fish in a barrel. I doubt that it was necessary for Ogden to devote so much ink to the subject, s ...more
Bret James Stewart
Sep 15, 2015 Bret James Stewart rated it really liked it
Ogden’s clever title covers the two foci of the book as he attempts to transform the practice of discipleship as well as create a style or method of discipling that is transforming. Many years went into testing the theories and procedures herein, and Ogden has a system in place that offers a world-changing methodology for creating disciples. This mandate is part of the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20, so all Christians ought to be discipling. Therefore, this book should appeal to all Christ ...more
Oct 06, 2011 Nick rated it really liked it
Ogden makes a good case for one model of discipleship, offering years of experience and wisdom. For Ogden, programs cannot make disciples--only relationships can. This means that there are no shortcuts or fast tracks. This book demonstrates that multiplication may appear slower than addition in the short scheme of things, but in the long run it is far more effective and far reaching. Sometimes the writing lost some momentum in carrying me along, but the information is solid.
Dave Martin
Sep 30, 2013 Dave Martin rated it it was amazing
Compelling case for non-programmatic, relationship-intensive approach to multiplying Jesus-followers. If you want to see lasting results, start by thinking small!
Apr 09, 2016 Paul rated it liked it
Definitely a helpful book. In the initial chapters, Ogden gives some good insights into the state of discipleship in our churches. I rolled my eyes a little in the chapters where Ogden discovers that Jesus and Paul used situational leadership; but he has some helpful points there about modeling. Finally, I liked the idea that he lays out for discipleship triads and I'm interested to give it a try. It did leave me with a couple questions - e.g. about how he's navigated multi-gender triads or work ...more
Todd Luallen
Aug 07, 2015 Todd Luallen rated it it was amazing
An excellent book on the need for discipleship in the Christian church, and an excellent plan for implementing transformative groups that multiply and reproduce effectively. Greg does a great job of describing the need for discipleship, the reason for the lack of it, and the road to implementing it. His plan is for triads (three individuals) to meet weekly, go through scripture based curriculum, and meet for a year before splitting up and each joining 2 others to do it all over again. That's a g ...more
Jon Stephens
Oct 01, 2013 Jon Stephens rated it it was amazing
Without question, Transforming Discipleship by Greg Ogden, is the best book I have read to date on the subject of making disciples. I picked up this book in preparation for a sermon series on discipleship and it radically changed and clarified so much of how I view the process of discipleship.

The book is well researched and theologically sound. It is broken up into three sections: The Discipleship Deficit, Doing the Lord’s Work in the Lord’s Way, and Multiplying Reproducing Discipleship Groups (
Apr 13, 2013 Nile rated it liked it
Shelves: do-not-own
Transforming Discipleship Book Review
I think that, overall, this book is helpful.

The primary takeaways for me is the value in meeting in a group of three for discipleship. He calls them triads throughout the book and talks about them like they are a secret formula. I am not sure they will be as groundbreaking as they sound, but he has convinced me to expand my current twosome to a triad.

Another takeaway is the notion of issuing a call to a potential disciple rather than being approached by the
Beau Stanley
Mar 17, 2016 Beau Stanley rated it it was amazing
Ogden's book is the most thorough treatment I have read of the theoretical and practical aspects of discipleship. We are already beginning to implement some of his ideas. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to catalyze a discipleship movement within a church or beyond.
Sep 13, 2015 Carl rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book, I was happy to see justification for the triad concept that we are implementing in our men's huddle groups. A great book for anyone wanting to get into the Biblical models for creating disciples of Jesus.
Jim Sallie
I'm not great at reviewing. I found Ogden's insights and experience very helpful. He confirmed many of my own thoughts on discipleship. The church is in dire need of being grounded systematically in her beliefs. If you have a desire to make disciples instead of mere converts this is a helpful tool. I'm also using Ogden's "Discipleship Essentials" in our discipleship triad. It is a solid tool. It is helpful to aid discussion about core beliefs and sharing life together.Transforming Discipleship: ...more
Frankly I do not remember what I read! Therefore, I have not rated the book
Steve Crenshaw
Apr 02, 2014 Steve Crenshaw rated it it was amazing
essential to any discipleship ministry.
Apr 07, 2012 Audrey rated it really liked it
Excellent book. The forming of a triad or quadrant for discipleship purposes really resonates with me. I also like the alternative discipling model Ogden mentions, that of "Life Transformation Groups, which targets a different group of people and can be used as an evangelistic tool. It would be a joy and delight to become involved in either type of group as the Lord opens doors and leads me to like-minded people.
Scott Ray
Aug 05, 2011 Scott Ray rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading and man this is one great book. It is all about Paul's model of making disciples. It confirmed a lot but also made me re-think some things. It is all about multiplication rather than just addition. Using small (3 person) groups to do discipleship for a year with the expectation that they will also do the same when they are done.
Jan 09, 2011 Jsuich rated it it was amazing
I crossed out the title and wrote "Creating Champions" because that's what I think its really about. Powerful, underlinable material on every page. And best of all, radical in the truest sense of the word: its about the root of the gospel. A must read for anyone about to reform, revise, or cast a vision for a ministry.
Luke Brown
May 09, 2012 Luke Brown rated it really liked it
I am interested in discipleship and sanctification. We don't stress it enough in our church, but there has to be a way to do it and keep the cart behind the horse, so to speak. How can we help laypeople grow in their faith and put their faith into action? Some good ideas. I also want to look at his Discipleship Essentials.
Jun 09, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Waukee Community Church
I agree with the author's take on discipleship - programs are not the answer. I enjoyed the philosophy and suggestions more than the book itself. The topic and Ogden's opinions resonate, but the subject matter could have been covered in half the pages. I completed the book desiring to experience a 'triad'.
Brian King
Jan 08, 2014 Brian King rated it it was amazing
Shelves: follow-jesus
Great work about getting back to the way Jesus taught people about the New Kingdom.
Jun 21, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
I like the small group and relationship concept for building discipleship. wish more specifics on the study part of the small group was provided
Tsun Lu
May 28, 2012 Tsun Lu rated it it was amazing
I made a personal relationship with the author Dr. Greg Ogden. His method of discipleship is very biblical and experiential, workable, adjustable, and powerful. I believe this book shows the path to make laity real self-reproducing disciples.
Jul 23, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it
A tremendous book dedicated to personal mentoring in triads (groups of three). It may be an excellent book except for the tendency to become too academic (Ogden is a doctorate theology prof).
Jan 27, 2016 Nika rated it it was amazing
This book was so helpful in guiding me to understand why my last discipleship group failed. I will use many of his insights as I move forward to try/train again.
Feb 15, 2011 Matt rated it really liked it
Having participated in a triad discipling relationship, this book really hit home for me. I think the idea of triads really can be life transforming.
Matt Glidden
Aug 23, 2010 Matt Glidden rated it really liked it
Needed challenge / reminder of Jesus' last words--make disciples. Ogden points out how and why we have failed in this area, and he presents a simple solution.
May 08, 2010 Randy rated it it was amazing
Terrific book for use when discussing your faith with the un-churched or those that you attend church with but who are not having their faith fed.
Mitchell Ebbott
Jan 28, 2013 Mitchell Ebbott rated it it was amazing
Very clear, usable ideas for a better model of discipleship. I saw in this book a lot of things that would have helped me in the past.
Kendi Tremmel
Mar 20, 2007 Kendi Tremmel rated it liked it
This is a great portrait of strong Christian leadership, but like all books of this topic can sometimes be a slow read.
Aug 03, 2009 Keith is currently reading it
About to start this book with some friends - have skimmed it and it looks good.
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“There is a vast difference between being a Christian and being a disciple. The difference is commitment.

Motivation and discipline will not ultimately occur through listening to sermons, sitting in a class, participating in a fellowship group, attending a study group in the workplace or being a member of a small group, but rather in the context of highly accountable, relationally transparent, truth-centered, small discipleship units.

There are twin prerequisites for following Christ - cost and commitment, neither of which can occur in the anonymity of the masses.

Disciples cannot be mass produced. We cannot drop people into a program and see disciples emerge at the end of the production line. It takes time to make disciples. It takes individual personal attention.

Discipleship training is not about information transfer, from head to head, but imitation, life to life. You can ultimately learn and develop only by doing.

The effectiveness of one's ministry is to be measured by how well it flourishes after one's departure.

Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside other disciples in order to encourage, equip, and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ. This includes equipping the disciple to teach others as well.

If there are no explicit, mutually agreed upon commitments, then the group leader is left without any basis to hold people accountable. Without a covenant, all leaders possess is their subjective understanding of what is entailed in the relationship.

Every believer or inquirer must be given the opportunity to be invited into a relationship of intimate trust that provides the opportunity to explore and apply God's Word within a setting of relational motivation, and finally, make a sober commitment to a covenant of accountability.

Reviewing the covenant is part of the initial invitation to the journey together. It is a sobering moment to examine whether one has the time, the energy and the commitment to do what is necessary to engage in a discipleship relationship.

Invest in a relationship with two others for give or take a year. Then multiply. Each person invites two others for the next leg of the journey and does it all again. Same content, different relationships.

The invitation to discipleship should be preceded by a period of prayerful discernment. It is vital to have a settled conviction that the Lord is drawing us to those to whom we are issuing this invitation. . If you are going to invest a year or more of your time with two others with the intent of multiplying, whom you invite is of paramount importance.

You want to raise the question implicitly: Are you ready to consider serious change in any area of your life? From the outset you are raising the bar and calling a person to step up to it. Do not seek or allow an immediate response to the invitation to join a triad. You want the person to consider the time commitment in light of the larger configuration of life's responsibilities and to make the adjustments in schedule, if necessary, to make this relationship work.

Intentionally growing people takes time. Do you want to measure your ministry by the number of sermons preached, worship services designed, homes visited, hospital calls made, counseling sessions held, or the number of self-initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus?

When we get to the shore's edge and know that there is a boat there waiting to take us to the other side to be with Jesus, all that will truly matter is the names of family, friends and others who are self initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus because we made it the priority of our lives to walk with them toward maturity in Christ. There is no better eternal investment or legacy to leave behind.”
“Progress in living the Christian life may have been steady and incremental throughout a believer's life to this point, but with entry into a triad there is a gear shift to warp speed.
Why is this? What are the climatic conditions in a discipleship group of three or four that create the hothouse effect? Three ingredients converge to release the Holy Spirit to bring about a rapid
growth toward Christlikeness. These can be summarized in the following biblical principle: When we (1) open our hearts in transparent trust to each other (2) around the truth of God's Word (3) in the spirit of mutual accountability, we are in the Holy Spirit's hothouse of transformation.”
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