Reasons I didn’t want to read this book: I, as a woman, have been struggling within the church for some time now. I work in Social Services- Child Protective Services, more accurately. 40 hours a week I deal with angry parents, drug addicts, violent and dirty homes, and broken children. I bust into houses with law enforcement and rescue the vulnerable. I basically kick ass for a living. Then I go to church, and I’m told that my role is to be gentle and nurturing. The ‘ministry’ options available to me are supplemental and mostly child related. It feels so dismissive to me- and discouraging. The world values me for my strengths and gifts and for who I am more than the church does.
So, naturally, the word “gentle” in the title of this book made me roll my eyes a bit. Why can’t it be the “Badass Art of Discipling Women”? I could get behind that. If one more book suggests to me that I host an arts and crafts night with ladies from my church, I might lose my mind. I want an adventure- I want to live dangerously for Christ
I treasured Yeakley’s desire to ensure that those who disciple are, well, disciples. Before even beginning to discuss how to disciple women, she spends the first half of the book discussing how to be a disciple oneself. Sure, it’s the basics of the Christian faith- forgiveness, access to God, etc- but I sensed and appreciated the admission booth she places at the doors of discipleship. “As we consider discipling,” she says, “we need to be assured of our place as His disciple so we pass on that which we know to be true.” In other words: the blind can’t lead the blind. I found myself examining my own spiritual life as Yeakley clearly laid out how faithful disciples live.
Onto the good stuff: discipleship. I got the feeling that Yeakley didn’t set out so much to teach women how to disciple women as much as to inspire in women the belief that they could. Though she has has years of personal experience, her book makes it clear that any follower of Christ has “what it takes” to grow in disciple-making.
I was pleased to find clearly addressed one of my most wrestled-with questions: how do I discern when women are ready and open to being discipled? And how do I know who might be a waste of time and emotional energy? Yeakley responds: Are they faithful, available, and teachable? Easy criteria that will hopefully help stave off some frustration in the future.
What’s the bottom line? Yeakley is qualified to teach on discipleship, with years of experience in the US and overseas. She teaches using Scripture, and gives helpful and practical tips and ideas. I’ve never read a book on discipleship before, so I don’t know how this compares, but it felt like a good book for beginners like myself. Was groundbreaking or life changing? No. Will I recommend it to friends who might have questions about discipleship? Sure. Will I read it again? Probably not.
Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book.