Any person serious about their relationship with God is also serious about the topic of discipleship. I still remember the first time I got my taste of reading discipleship books when I read The Cost of Discipleship as a high schooler. My heart was absolutely on fire as I finally understood the gravity of what it means to do the sacred task of following Jesus.
Maybe you’re in that position and you want to grow and learn what it means to be a disciple and or be a disciple-maker (hint–they’re one in the same). A great next step in growing one’s ability to both be a disciple and to make discipleship is to read discipleship books.
The way I’ve broken up this list is by discipleship books for when you yourself want to grow to be a disciple and then secondarily, discipleship books for when you want to make disciples.
They are two sides of the same coin but different books will have different emphasis.
Here are a list of 8 life changing discipleship books you should read to make a big impact on your life.
Discipleship Books to Help you GROW as a disciple
1. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
If there is one book you read from this list, this is the one.
No discipleship book had shaped the thinking and seriousness of the Christian life than the German pastor who was martyred. Bonhoeffer breaks down in no unclear terms what it means to be a follower of Jesus and what the cost will be.
To be clear, it will cost you your life.
Bonhoeffer spends much of the book breaking down lessons and the demands of the sermon of the mount and what that looks like in context of Christian discipleship. Hear from a classic and a legend within the Christian faith.
2 Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman
In a world of “likes” and “clicks”, Kyle Idleman challenges that discipleship is not being a fan of Jesus.
He calls and demands so much more from us because he wants to give us so much more.
I loved the premise of the book as it called me to re-up my seriousness to this thing called following Jesus and let his life be the North Star in my life.
3 Words to Walk By by Chris Ratay
What I love about what Chris is that he brings a unique perspective after ministering in an inner city context for much of his life.
Surrounded by drugs, poverty, and much brokenness, he shares what it means to live out the sermon on the mount at the intersectionality between the calling of God and normal life.
Bonhoeffer’s treatise on discipleship is high and lofty; Ratay’s is gritty and urban.
(PSA – I’m a little biased because Chris is an amazing guy in our church network)
4 The Way of Life by Bill Johnson
What I love about the former three books was that they are more stoic and serious exhortations on what it means to follow Jesus.
This book on discipleship comes at it from a different angle.
Johnson, as evinced through his whole life and in the church he leads, thinks about discipleship in context to mimicking the life and words of Jesus. In addition to being a teacher and a teacher of heavenly ethics, Jesus was a miracle worker, who brought heaven down to earth.
This book is about walking in the ways of Jesus as a miracle worker and what it means for believers to be walking in step with the Spirit of God expectant of miracles all around.
Discipleship Books to help you MAKE disciples
1 The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Emerson Coleman
Absolutely start with this book.
This short and inexpensive book is an absolute primer on the practice of disciple making as it fits in the grander context of evangelism.
I have found no book that has weaved those two realities and mandates in clearer, inspiring, and doable terms.
It is short, powerful, and absolutely elucidating in terms of understanding what your purpose on earth is as it fits with the larger scheme of God’s plan.
2 Changing the World Through Discipleship by Robert Herbert
I love Antioch church and what they bring to the church at large. They are unabashedly a church-planting and disciple-making church with a grip of church plants both here in the states and internationally. They are definitely cream of the crop in terms of movers in the church at large when it comes to leading the charge in the context of discipleship and church planting.
Hear from one of their network pastors Robert Herbert as he journeys his own discipleship experiences and gives practical guidance on those who want to jump in on disciplemaking.
I was really encouraged to hear how human yet life-changing discipleship relationships are and saw that fruitfulness in my own life.
I loved reading this book.
This book was a perfect compliment to Changing the World Through Discipleship as it touched on discipleship structure in larger churches.
Putman is able to define discipleship in very clear and reproducible terms and provides a biblical and behavioral framework to lead discipleship groups that multiply.
4 Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan
Last but not least is a powerful book about the work and intent of discipleship written by one who lives and breathes what he teaches.
Francis Chan, the influential pastor who left his mega church to pursue smaller multiplicative church planting groups writes his learnings and his vision for what the church should be doing.
That wraps up my list of books that absolutely changed my life in my approach to both being a follower of Jesus and in making followers of Jesus.
If you want to read more of my content on pursuing God, check out these posts.
How about you? Did you get a chance to read any of these books and can affirm their place on this list? Would you recommend something else?