Simple Discipleship: A Comprehensive Disciple-Making Plan- The Simple Discipleship Virtual Book Tour- (updated)

Simple Discipleship 2009


This is an updated article that was released in January 2010. I have inserted one of the most important methods of discipleship…private discipleship. It is a method that church leaders assume all Christians practice but the reality is that it is becoming rare except among persecuted Christians and perhaps Christian theology students. As Christian leaders we must use all seven methods and pray that the Lord inspires people to go deeper in private discipleship. I also added some Bible references to each discipleship method. This re-release functions as an introduction to a series titled, Simple Discipleship Best Practices.

In this edition of the Simple Discipleship Virtual Book Tour, Dr. Bill Brown provided a short review in his introductory comments. He presently serves as Lead Pastor, at North Star Baptist Church, Youngsville, NC; Adjunct Professor, Liberty Seminary, teaching Discipleship, Church Administration, and Church Planting.

For over a decade I have been teaching evangelism and church planting courses, and for the last eighteen months a discipleship class for Liberty Seminary.  There are numerous discipleship materials available, but few walk a pastor through the implementation of a comprehensive strategy. Another major deficiency common in the genre is the lack of assessment strategies. We want to make disciples, but never have a means to evaluate if we are truly accomplishing the task. As a result, little changes. Tom Cocklereece’s Simple Discipleship satisfies these concerns. The following will give you an overview of the text.  This would be a great addition to your ministry library.   Remember, the Great Commission is all about making disciples, which encompasses evangelism, missions, and results in church planting.  –Bill Brown

Simple Discipleship: A Comprehensive Disciple-Making Plan

Many people think that Simple Discipleship (SD) is merely a collection of Bible studies designed to enhance the spiritual growth of individuals, but that does not describe SD. Simple Discipleship grew out of my reading of Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger in which they challenged pastors to become designers of disciple-making ministries. Happily, many pastors have accepted the challenge, but organizational development is not a strong point for many church leaders. I was immediately attracted to the challenge. I observed that while Simple Church listed four characteristics of disciple-making churches (clarity, measurement, alignment, focus), the authors did not provide sufficient detail as to how church leaders might develop a ministry that was in fact a simple church. In short, to develop and write Simple Discipleship I took their work to a new level.


Perhaps a look at disciple-making methods would be useful, as there are six disciple-making methods used in varying degrees by church leaders. Bible references are included with each method to illustrate the fact that Jesus deliberately used each one–depending on the need and context. Note that program discipleship is one of the most common methods used today and is related to platform discipleship. Here is a look at all 13 discipleship methods:

  1. Passive Discipleship: the least effective method but essential to support other methods
  2. Private Discipleship: the Christian and the Holy Spirit (most effective but under used)
  3. Presence Discipleship: In times of crisis the disciple invests time, assistance, and prayer.
  4. Participation or Proximity Discipleship: applies to all areas but most of all to giving
  5. Projected DiscipleshipActively but humbly projecting a Christian example of living Christ’s teachings.
  6. Platform or Presentation Discipleship: preaching in church and lecture-style Bible study
  7. Program Discipleship: Pre-packaged materials delivered in large or small groups.
  8. Personal Discipleship: One-on-one discipleship (very effective but seldom used)
  9. Peer Group Discipleship: Bible study and Sunday School
  10. Practical Discipleship: Hands on service, evangelism, and missional projects
  11. Proficiency Discipleship: Leadership Development
  12. Proclamation Discipleship: Evangelism and preaching to unchurched
  13. Process Discipleship: All of the above delivered in a systematic way

In short, Simple Discipleship is a ubiquitous disciple-making strategy using private, platform, program, peer-group, personal, and proficiency discipleship delivered in a process manner. Use of the material presented in the book Simple Discipleship will provide church leaders with a new comprehensive disciple-making plan that will grow people and grow their churches.

Simple Discipleship: How to Make Disciples in the 21st Century was published and released by Church Smart Resources in November 2009. It is not a self-published book. To learn more about Simple Discipleship and to order the book, follow the link below:


Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is a pastor, author, professional coach, leadership specialist, and is 
a member Coach/Teacher/Speaker for the John Maxwell Team

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