Review: With Him

Sometimes you can’t judge a book by its cover, other times you can.  This book is called “With Him: A Biblical Model of Discipleship for Men” and that’s exactly what you get with this book.  It’s about discipleship and it is specifically aimed at one to one discipleship for men.  It’s not that the principles couldn’t be used in one to one ministry with women, or that some of the ideas couldn’t be used in other places, the aim is clearly directed towards men to disciple men.

What I liked:

It is short.  Like the other books in the series published by 10ofthose, this is a short book and is meant to be.  At 60 pages,  I read the whole book in less that an hour.  And it is readable.  This is important because if you are going to disciple men, you need to get to the point and not muck around, and this is what this book doesn’t.  It is short and clear and to the point.

But it also reminded me of the need to disciple men.  Godly men need to pass on the pattern of good teaching to others.

It reminded me that ministry is more “caught than taught”.  This is about taking men with you as you seek to follow Christ, and serve him and make him known to others.  Hence the name “with him”.  Jesus didn’t just preach, he had 12 men who followed him around and learned from watching him.

Finally, I liked the “checklist” in the final chapter.  What are you seeking to do when you disciple men?  It’s not as complicated as we often make out:

  1. Have a clear goal: Christian maturity.
  2. Teach a man how to feed himself on the Word of God.
  3. Help him to learn to pray.
  4. Lead him to learn to obey the Scriptures.
  5. Show him he needs to be in contact with Christ’s people through the church.
  6. Urge him to preach the gospel to all nations.

The Danger:

But there is a danger with this book.  Ken G. Smith is very up front with the influence of Navigators in shaping his thoughts on ministry.  Navigators’ one to one ministry has shaped a lot of people’s views on discipleship in the last 50 years.  In fact, the danger is that when I talk about discipleship most people assume that one to one ministry is what I am talking about.  When I suggest that discipleship could be done as one to two, small groups or even preaching to people I am given odd looks – “that’s not discipleship!”.   While one to one is important, there are no occasions recorded in the gospels when Jesus spent time with his disciples one to one.  It was usually Jesus, Peter, James and John or the 12.  My point is that discipleship is more than just one to one.  Discipleship is about helping people follow Jesus.  There are a number of ways we can help people to do that (including blogs!!).

In Ken G. Smith’s defence, he acknowledges this: “I see this “with him” principle as being a very small aspect of the big biblical system, but its a vital one.  It’s part of the system”. (p40).

Am I “With Him”?

I think this would be a great book for a bunch of men to take away and read over a weekend or in a small group.

With Him is available from the Wandering Bookseller.

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