I am grateful for the GPS (Global Positioning System). There are many times in my travels I know where I need to go, but I have trouble figuring out how to get there. The navigation system gives me the clear direction and specific instructions to arrive promptly at my destination. The GPS provides the “how-to” for my travels. A similar need can be found among Christians when it comes to the practice of discipleship. Many Christians are aware of the command to make disciples. They know what they are called to do; they just don’t know how to do it. What Christians need is a GPS-like resource on how to disciple and mentor others. That is why I am grateful for Brad Merchant’s compact and challenging book, Mentoring Like Jesus: Making Discipleship A Part of Everyday Life.
As one of the pastors at College Park Church in Indianapolis, Brad Merchant has noticed the need in the church “on how to mentor others in everyday life” (Merchant 19) and has set out “to help Christians make discipleship a part of everyday life by sharing practical steps on why and how to do that” Merchant 4). In 16 concise sections, averaging about 2–4 pages, Merchant equips the reader by defining and demonstrating what it looks like to make discipleship a part of everyday life.
Mentoring Like Jesus is an immensely practical and biblical guide for any Christian looking for direction in how to disciple. Merchant refrains from overcomplicating things, informing us: “There are only three things you need to make disciples: You, the Holy Spirit, and your Bible” (Merchant 29). The book’s simplicity does not mean it is simplistic, for we are reminded “[o]ne of the best ways you can grow in your knowledge of God and help others do the same is in the context of the local church” (Merchant 31). Mentoring others in discipling relationships is not practiced in isolation but in the life of the local church.
While the content of the book provides direction in discipleship, the structure of the book lacks some clarity in direction. With no “Table of Contents” page, the reader will have to flip through the book to gain a sense of the book’s contents. Additionally, some sections could be grouped together, such as those covering the definitions of discipleship and mentoring. The placement of the personal story Merchant shares (beginning on page 15) could have been adjusted to be placed at the beginning of the book with the power it has. Nevertheless, these considerations do not impact the content. Although there may be a difference of opinion on what roads to take, the book serves its purpose as a GPS on discipleship. If you need guidance in how to start discipling, be sure to pick up and read this resource.
If you would like to find out more about Brad Merchant or read more of his writings, check out his blog here.