The 6 Best Books on Christian Discipleship

The essence of Christianity lies in discipleship. Today we witness an era centered around the Gospel where many individuals have embraced its truths – even possibly dedicating their lives to Jesus. Yet, their interest in continuously pursuing Jesus may have diminished.

In America, we’ve made a lot of converts over the last 20-30 years, but I wonder how many true disciples the church has made.

One problem many churches and church leaders face is not having a clear, reproducible framework for discipleship. Where do we start? What does this look like? Does discipleship look the same for everyone?

On the other hand, maybe you’re not a church leader. Maybe you know Jesus but don’t really know how to take next steps.

Thankfully there are plenty of resources for both needs. There are plenty of books written on discipleship and disciple-making each year – some on how to become a disciple and others on how to make disciples. I’ve read a lot of these myself. Some are helpful, some are not-so-helpful, and some are game changers.

I put together a short list of 5 game changers. A few are perfect to walk through with others as you seek to create a culture of disciple making, while I identified two as more personal discipleship books.

6 Helpful Books on Discipleship

Best for Church Leaders

Deep Discipleship: How the Church Can Make Whole Disciples of Jesus


Written By: JT English

JT makes the strong point: Everyone is being discipled. The question is: what is discipling us? He breaks down discipleship into three key elements: The Bible, theology, and spiritual disciplines.

He lays out a practical plan to help church leaders establish environments and relationships that help our people grow in each area.

02/14/2024 08:00 am GMT
Best for Individuals

The Cost of Discipleship


Written By: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

One of the best aspects of this book is the fact that Dietrich truly experienced the cost of discipleship. It's not theoretical or hypothetical. He writes with deep conviction and from personal experience.

It's not necessarily a textbook on discipleship, but it is full of wisdom and truth for anyone looking to follow in the ways of Jesus.

02/14/2024 12:04 pm GMT
Best for Replication

Building a Discipling Culture, 3rd Edition


Written By: Mike Breen

Building a Discipling Culture is an incredibly practical book – perfect for small groups or individuals. It follows a framework used by Mike for decades that utilizes shapes and shared language in discipleship.

It's great for churches and organizations (hence the "building a culture" language), but it can also be read by individuals or used in small groups outside of an established church.

02/14/2024 10:09 am GMT
Runner Up for Church Leaders

Gospel-Centered Discipleship (Foreword by Matt Chandler): Revised


Written By: Jonathon Dodson

This book presents a Gospel-centered model for making Gospel-centered disciples. Dodson reminds readers that real discipleship is imperfect yet transformational, and he encourages Christians to engage more authentically with others as they grow in faith.

I read this book as a teenager leading small groups at my local church, and it changed the way I viewed discipleship and sanctification. It has since been updated – and I'm sure it's even more helpful now.

02/14/2024 08:55 am GMT
Runner Up for Individuals

Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth


Written By: Richard Foster

This is a classic book on spiritual growth through the spiritual disciplines – which many would say is at the heart of personal discipleship. Though we note this is a great book for individuals (personal discipleship opposed to a book to use in groups), this book does lay out a great framework for thinking about discipleship and making disciples.

02/14/2024 03:04 pm GMT

Discipleship Goes Deeper Than Reading a Book

The above books provide helpful frameworks for personal and corporate discipleship. They can serve as helpful guides on your journey to following Jesus better and making disciples yourself, but at the end of the day – there’s no one route to discipleship.

Frameworks help, but God and the process to knowing Him better can’t be boxed into a process or step-by-step guide.

Discipleship is far more complex than some may make you think. So grab one of these discipleship books and read it, but more importantly – experience Jesus for yourself. Spend time with Him. Put His Word on your heart. Go on the journey with others. And don’t believe the lie that it’s a linear journey that fits perfectly within a manmade framework.

Other Great Christian Books and Resources

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