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1–2–1 DiscipleshipHelping One Another Grow Spiritually

1–2–1 Discipleship

Helping One Another Grow Spiritually

Christine Dillon
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Now available on Kindle in electronic format


This book has one-to-one and discipleship in its name but it makes it clear that the goal of meeting one-to-one is to help people grow as disciples (that is, followers) of Jesus. One-to-one is a tool to help us, not an end in itself.

This book is both challenging and practical. The ideas are supported from the Bible and illustrated with stories from the author's experience discipling women in Australia and Taiwan. There are also questions to help think through the different ideas.

While a couple of chapters are spent on how to read the Bible together there are also chapters on how to teach different disciplines of the Christian life such as praying, evangelism, personal Bible study and other skills. There are also some very helpful chapters in how to identify and address some of the issues that prevent us from growing as Christians.

I found that the author's cross-cultural perspective (evangelising and discipling in Taiwan) was very helpful for reflecting on how we help people grow and mature in our church setting.

A few books have come out quite recently about one-to-one Bible reading but I strongly recommend this book, particularly if you have been meeting one-to-one for a while and it's feeling routine or aimless. This book will equip you, to better equip others, for a life of following and serving Jesus.

Jenny Bradshaw, Australia

This book has been a great encouragement in working at discipling people. Christine challenges us to be honest in our own walk with the Lord as we seek to encourage others to mature as followers of Christ. I have appreciated the practical look at different areas of discipling - working out where people are spiritually, how to study the Bible, different learning styles, training in ministry skills. I am working through this book a second time to put it into practice and highly recommend it.

Heather Bradshaw, Grafton NSW

This is an excellent book for those who take discipling seriously. Dillon's treatment of the subject is thoroughly Biblical, pastorally sensitive and eminently practical. The chapters on reading, understanding and applying the Bible are excellent. It's not a naive book - it deals clearly and frankly with problems that can arise in discipling others, thus hopefully saving the diligent reader/discipler from some of the pitfalls. It's not just a book about discipling, it's also about training those we disciple to be disciplers. Dillon's experience in other cultures makes this book more readily usable in different cultural settings.
This book is number 1 on my list of books to use for training people in discipling ministry. I'm recommending it to students training to be disciplers.

Sam Reeve, Vice-Principal, Bible College of Victoria.

Dillon lays out the foundation of biblical discipleship according to Scripture, and has many suggestions on how to prayerfully prepare and pursue someone in a discipleship relationship. Dillion states that "God has the power to make people grow, and we are the aid and the helper in the process". This book is a reminder that when someone first becomes a Christian, there are still a lot of growth and maturing to do in the life of a new believer. Discipleship is important in order for Christians to continue to grow in Christ, and live a life that honors and glorifies God. I would recommend this book to any Christians who are interested in encouraging and pouring their lives into other believers to help one another grow spiritually.

Tina Keller, missionary church-planter, mother and counselor

Christine has provided an excellent base for those wanting to actively mentor others in their Christian walk. This book clearly explains the need for discipleship and how to put plans into practice. I have already been able to put a number of Christine's suggestions into practice with great effect. In particular, the illustration of our Christian lives as a chain with many links has been helpful for me when I am not seeing any results - it reminds me that discipleship is all in God's timing!

Anthony Penn, Sydney, Australia

Accessible, Practical, Instilling Confidence by its Simplicity: When I did a year as a church intern, I was given the opportunity to disciple two new believers. I thought I'd better read a book about discipling first and this is the one that caught my eye. It was so helpful to read through step-by-step principles of discipleship, written by someone who has a lot of experience, and to realise that this wasn't the first time I had discipled someone. It turned out I had been discipling friends informally for years! This book put into words what I had been doing and helped me think through what works well and where I had left gaps, giving me the confidence to step forward more intentionally in this work that should be part of every believer's life.

Rachel, Cross-Cultural Worker

I had low expectations of this book. Quite low in fact. My confession is that when I saw it was written by a former student of SMBC (whose name I recognised but whom I don't know) and published by the same company that publishes books by the principal of SMBC, I assumed that he had pulled a few strings and got her into print.

I assume that such arrangements are common place, and that if a book ever comes out with my name on the cover it will be because someone has called in some significant favour. But, having never heard of Christine Dillon other than as a missionary to be prayed for, I expected a book that was more self-indulgent than useful, kind of like a blog!

But this is a great book! And one that I cannot recommend highly enough. Here's why:

1. It's unique. Scan your local Christian book store for a book on one-to-one Christian discipleship and I suspect that, apart from a couple of youth titles, you will probably come up empty handed. Certainly there does not appear to be anything like it written from a reformed perspective, and, if they exist at all, fewer still written from a non-American perspective. Now, an American perspective is no bad thing, and I think Aussie and British Christians have a lot to learn from their American brothers and sisters in many areas, but there is a massive cultural gulf between us and them.

Dillon is an Australian (I think) who works as a church planter in Taiwan. Apparently she wrote this book because 'good books on the topic seem surprising scarce' (p.8), and by the scarceness I was surprised as well. Perhaps it is little wonder that very few Christians have Christian mentors, and that fewer still have disciples!

2. It's practical. I love thick biblical commentaries and I love systematic theologies (which are all thick, if not 3 volumes). But for a book subtitles 'helping one another grow spiritually', a slender, practical volume was called for. And this one is immensely practical. I found the chapters 'Types of One-to-One Discipling' and 'What is the Goal of Discipling?' to be particularly useful and was particularly helped by their distinctions between formal and informal discipleship, and the suggestion that one of the goals of discipling is to prepare for suffering (p.31). I think that any book that acknowledges the likelihood of Christian suffering is better than the pop-psychology, self-help crap that occupies most of the shelf space at most Christian booksellers, and to include that as a function of discipleship is very helpful indeed. While sections details the steps to discerning who, where and when to disciple at first seem rather too prescriptive, they contain useful information that one would be foolish not to take on board in to some extent or other.

3. It's Biblical. I can imagine many churches encouraging people to disciple others, as modelled in the Bible. There would be appeals to various parts of Scripture, and the obligatory inclusion of the Great Commission. Dillon includes all of that, and the book is grounded in the Bible, but that's not what I mean. The biblical-ness of this book is that it assumes that discipleship will be 'the process of becoming more like Jesus, as we are transformed by the Holy Spirit' (p.13) and that that will only happen through faithful, diligent study of the Word of God.

Don't read me wrong here; Dillon's view of discipleship is much more that private Bible study, and it is a costly exercise that involves sacrifice, commitment and diligence. She does not say that the Bible be opened at every meeting. However it is clear that the Bible is what is being used to inform and enable Christ-like transformation by the Holy Spirit. To this end, there are a number of useful sections on reading the Bible with your disciple, and teaching the disciple to study the Bible themselves.

4. It's reflective. Each chapter contains opportunities for reflection. Now at this point, a lot of Christian books would have opted for a limp-wristed approach to reflection requiring you to contemplate how you feel, if not express them in some form of journal. Dillon's points for reflection require the reader to think practically and theologically, and to acknowledge deep biblical truths as they prepare to disciple others.

I have very few criticisms of 1-2-1 Discipleship, and as you will see, those that I do have are relatively minor. Firstly, while the cover design is catchy and engaging, the typeface is stupid. Apparently colophon's used to include details of the font so you knew who (or rather which font) to blame. No such details are included, probably for obvious reasons, but it is a font that is difficult to read and should be reserved for wedding invitations and the like.

And secondly, I would have loved to hear Christine Dillon's thoughts on how we create a culture of discipleship. How can it be taught from the pulpit? How can it be facilitated through encouragement and equipping? In many ways it's a difficult thing to for a person to approach a more mature Christian and ask to be discipled. But perhaps it's an even more difficult thing for a more mature Christian to approach another and ask if they would like to be discipled (especially in Australia where the only thing worse than affirming another person is affirming yourself). Either way, it's got to be that more mature Christian who takes the initiative in discipleship, and this book will greatly assist by motivating that response and equipping those that God has called.

Chris Ashton,

I must admit that I had put off reading 1-2-1 Discipleship for a full year before starting ... We have worked in cross-cultural work in the Philippines for the past 15 years - teaching, discipling and training leaders in a number of different settings ... and the last thing I was interested in was yet another 'magic potion' Bible study course that claimed to be the key to spiritual growth.
BUT from the first chapter onwards, I found myself saying, 'Finally! someone has taken principles we have found to be true to life, and the commonsense hints that we have informally & formally passed onto others - and put them all down together, in a logical, easy-to-read format in one place!'
We have found what is written in Christine's book to be true. We have lived by similar principles for many years, and have seen God at work molding people into His image. This is not yet another Bible Study course, but rather tenets of life, clearly stated and explained. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who believes in the value of investing in others' lives.

Susan Chapman, Philippines.

This is a wonderfully straightforward and practical book designed to help each of us rise to the challenge of discipling others - a task that is too often left to church leaders, so called experts, and keenies only. It helps remove any "fear factor" or sense of being too daunted to get involved in discipling others by providing clear guidelines on the "how to" of discipleship. For example Christine offers advice on how to encourage someone in prayer and personal Bible Study, on where and when and even who to disciple, leaving the reader with no excuses about being unsure of what to do to disciple another person.
This book helpfully reminds us that as Christians we all have a responsibility to disciple others, to take the opportunities that God provides, and not to shy from the task for fear of not being good enough. Christine encourages her readers to have confidence as we disciple others because God's word and His Spirit are powerful and can change lives.
And of course as we get involved in discipleship so we find our own faith stretched, challenged and deepened.
This book is Biblical, easy to read, extremely practical, and has useful questions for reflection at the end of each chapter. A great read - enough to get your teeth into if you've been involved in discipling others already, but not overwhelming if you're thinking of taking up the challenge of discipling others and need some help.I strongly recommend it- well worth the few hours it will take you to read.

Naomi Cansdale - mother, teacher and vicar's wife in the Chiltern's area, Bucks, UK

In 1-2-1 Discipleship, Dillon aims to explain what discipleship is and gives practical guidelines for discipling others. The book contains numerous references to scripture and examples from Dillon's own experience. I was surprised to read a section on learning preferences that I had also come across during a General Professional Training
(medical) meeting. It helpfully sets out broad general principles rather than propose any exclusive way. The book is easy to read and designed with short chapters.
There are reflection questions at the end of each chapter that allow the reader opportunity to pause and consider how the material can be applied.
1-2-1 Discipleship outlines how believers can help one another grow to be more like Jesus. Dillon hopes to
pass on some of the things she has learnt to help others get started in discipling.
I found the book practical, relevant and would recommend it for those hoping to encourage others to be more like Jesus. We are all busy already, but the nature of personal discipleship is flexible, making it easier to fit into busy schedules. Meeting one to one with another believer can be mutually encouraging and fulfilling and this book will help you get started.

Adrian Chueng, doctor and member of a Baptist church in Sydney

I'm so blessed after reading this book. I'm so thankful for a special person, friend and also a teacher for me for giving me this kind of book.. as a reader and undergo in discipleship I challenge to gave value the importance of discipleship as a follower of Christ... thank you also for the writer of this book for sharing her experiences and good testimony... :-)

arah rosario bosiños

This book emphasises the importance of having a spiritual companion on the Christian journey - and the need to be a companion to others. Practical suggestions help the reader to take the first steps in ‘discipling' others and to recognise when the ‘disciple' has had enough! I thought some of her suggestions would work extremely well while others needed further adaptation to meet the needs of members of non-evangelical churches. But the book is an encouragement to walk alongside fellow Christians and share their journey. She offers useful ways of dealing with difficulties - and sometimes forestalling them!

Teresa De Bertodano,

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