"Leveling The Church" is a good read on how to get church members more involved in the church's ministry so the pastor can spend more time discipling people to do ministry instead of doing the majority of the church's ministry. Around 180 pages, some of the topics covered include:
1. While pastors do some ministry to others, their main responsibility is to develop others to do ministry. Indeed, by doing so, ministry is multiplied and makes the church so much more effective in the community it serves.
2. 4 main roles of pastoral leadership.
3. While preaching is very important in the church, preaching alone won't make a church healthy. In other words, members grow when they apply biblical principles to their lives and minister to others.
4. Unlike the method commonly used by churches, Jesus focused most (not all) of His discipleship on just a few people.
5. Contrary to world's way of leadership development, Jesus often chose the humble, unknown, broken, and teachable to disciple. Judging on how Christianity has grown over the centuries, His approach works!
6. 4 steps for effective delegation.
7. The importance of informal and relational discipleship.
Many things to like about the book: easy to read, flows smoothly from chapter to chapter, good spiritual insights, experiences from his own life and that of others, and many good practical suggestions. I also like the balanced approach of biblical insights and practical advice instead of the heavy slant towards pious platitudes and little practical advice of other books I've read.
While I also liked the authors' description influences that inhibit discipleship in the church (professionalism - only professionals can do the work of discipleship, independence, and the "super pastor" who does all the work), I would have liked to have seen more descriptions of the issues within the church that make discipling more difficult. The authors did mention it some, but would have liked to have read more. By that I mean:
1. Country club church membership (people going through the motions of religion and not taking Jesus and the Bible seriously).
2. Cliques within the church (while we can have best friends, we need to be careful of shutting out people who want to be discipled or part of a church or Sunday School).
3. Exclusivity within the church (instead of everyone being viewed and treated as someone special to Jesus, we in the church can place more importance on a person's level of church activity and "busyness" in their life - a.k.a. "Since my life is very busy, I wear my busyness as a badge of honor and am therefore more important than less busy people").
I give the 3 above examples because sometimes (not always) before we point fingers at the world, we must start with ourselves first (read 2 Chronicles 7:14).
Overall, an excellent read and will be a helpful future reference. I was given a review copy by Moody Publishers in exchange for a fair review and appreciate the opportunity.