It’s been a little over a year since I first published my discipleship workbook, Aspire. My aim was simple—I wanted to provide a tool that could equip men and women to make disciples through one-on-one relationships in the church. There was no shortage of books on the need for discipleship or curriculum designed to train disciples in the classroom or small group setting. What I found lacking were tools to help members of my church as they sought to meet with neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family and walk with them through the process of understanding God, his work in the world, and the process by which we are transformed by his grace.
After preaching for years on the need for discipleship, I discovered that the ordinary church attendee had little clue how to do this in real life. Nor did I. I’d never been discipled so, even though I’d been to seminary and served in a church for over a decade, discipleship still felt like a middle school dance to me—I was awkward, clumsy, and didn’t really know what to do. But, I tried. I met with a young believer for a year and experimented with a discipleship plan. I decided to keep my notes and turn them into a tool others could use to make disciples as well. The result was Aspire.
Originally published as one book with 36 weekly labs, divided into three sections, Aspire provided an introductory road map for the disciple’s journey in hopes that, after the year was complete, the disciple would be a self-feeder and would be capable of making other disciples as well.
By God’s grace, the book has produced fruit, both in our church and in others like ours. I’ve found that many are hungry for tools that aid them in doing the things pastors are calling them to do week in and week out. We know we should be making disciples, and many want a plan for doing it well.
I also learned some lessons in my first attempt at publishing Aspire. Like all writers, there were things we did well, things we didn’t do so well, and things we’d like to do better. So, with the help of some friends and input from other pastors, I’ve spent the last several months revamping Aspire and making it better. Aspire: Part 1 is now available. Here are some changes you’ll notice in this version:
- The original book has been divided into two separate books (Aspire: Part 1 and Aspire: Part 2) making each much shorter and less intimidating.
- Each book contains 15 weeks of discipleship guides, which are designed to fit within the fall and spring rhythms of the church calendar—though they can be also used anytime and anywhere. The 36 weeks of the original book have been combined and condensed to avoid redundancy and improve the flow between sections.
- The first book (Aspire: Part 1) is a survey of the Bible from creation to new creation, designed to provide the disciple with a summary of the entire Bible with a focus on the united plan of God to save sinners through the person and work of Jesus.
- Each week contains ample space for personal reflection and journaling, designed to foster healthy conversations when the one-on-one pair meets each week.
- The weekly labs attempt to foster spiritual growth more effectively, focusing on the disciple’s knowledge of God, love for God, and obedience to God. Effort has been made to balance the head, heart, and hands of the disciple-making journey.
In the coming months, I will release Aspire: Part 2, focusing on various practical issues such as evangelism, Bible reading, and the role of the Holy Spirit, for God’s people to seek growth and transformation. My prayer is that God will use these workbooks to equip His church to make disciples. I long for the day when every new believer, every young Christian, and every member of our churches has the blessing of a purposeful one-on-one discipleship relationship.