A Review of “Multiply” by Francis Chan

multiplyOf the writing of books on discipleship there is no end. There seems to be a never-ending streams of books talking about new methods, new programs, or simply new concepts of discipleship. We are invited to return to the model of Jesus, or to advance into the postmodern world. Discipleship continues to be a hot topic in the church. Francis Chan, for his part, has a pretty simple idea in mind when he writes about discipleship. Its simplicity makes Multiply such a useful tool for discipleship.

Multiply is not so much a book on methodology, rather it is itself the method. That is to say, this is the book you would go through with a new believer to help them grow. This is the resource you would encourage young Christians to work through in a group as they seek to grow. It’s not a book for pastors to learn how to do better discipleship, it’s a book pastors take and read alongside young protégés to help them better understand what it means to follow Jesus. To that end, Chan has written concise, helpful, chapters on the basic elements of faith and following. Throughout he calls us to interact with the material and with each other, asking and answering questions corresponding to the information. His overall goal is not that we would merely read another book, but that we would seek to implement and help one another implement what we learn.

The author has two requests to make of us as readers. Two principles govern Chan’s view of discipleship: teach what you learn, and share you life (10). There is a plethora of information in the book. Chan covers what a disciple is, and walks us through the process of making disciples. He teaches readers about what it means to be part of the church, why the church matters, and what the church’s role in the world is. He teaches readers too how to read the Bible and what it looks like to submit to God’s Word. He also writes helpful surveys of the Old and New Testaments, writing a sort of Biblical theology for beginners across a series of chapters. The book contains a fair amount of focused information, but this information is always practical. The information is oriented towards Christian living.

The second key aspect is interlaced throughout the book, as well, mingling among the information. The key to good discipleship, Chan tells us, is “deep relationships.” The relational component is essential to Biblical discipleship. He writes:

But making disciples is far more than a program. It is the mission of our lives. It defines us. (31).

If you are going to make disciples, you need to be putting your faith into practice so that the people around you can imitate your faith. Because of this, being a disciple maker demands your entire life. (47)

It is this relational aspect that makes Multiply such a great tool. It does not merely give us information it calls us to invest in one another as we learn this information. The questions throughout the chapters cause us to stop, pause, and consider the application of the information. They don’t allow us to merely recall data from the book, but they force us to seek unique and specific application of the information to our lives. Working through this book with other believers will go an immensely long way in helping one another grow in our faith.

With its eye continually towards a simple, repeatable, and transferable discipleship Multiply is a great resource for new and immature believers. It is easy to read, engaging, and keeps a clear picture of a disciple ever before us. It’s overview of the narrative of redemption is a particularly unique feature and only adds to its usefulness. The questions designed to generate relational discipleship and accountability are equally refreshing. I did not personally watch the video sessions on the Multiply website that correspond to the chapters, but if they do nothing more than repeat key points of the chapter they will be useful. I highly recommend Multiply as a resource for walking alongside immature Christians ready to grow. It will not only instruct them in Biblical truths, but it will provide us all with the tools we need to help one another grow.

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