QUICK HIT: 4 Chair Discipling breaks the process of sanctification into four steps and, as the book unfolds, talks about the unique challenges and opportunities of each step.
Picture it. Four chairs. Side by side. Empty. Waiting. Which one are you?
Chair one is for the Lost. You sit here if you are still wandering, if you haven’t yet come home, if you’ve not made your profession of faith and acknowledged Christ as Lord and accepted him as Savior.
Chair two is for the Believer. You sit here once you’ve made that profession of faith. Despite being next to the first chair, the distance between them is actually limitless and it is only by God’s grace that you made the jump. You’ve undergone an extraordinary transformation. But the process is not over.
Chair three is for the Worker. You sit here once you’ve begun to grow in your faith. Once a baby Christian, you are now maturing and begin to take your place of responsibility within the church and within the kingdom of God.
Chair four is for the Disciple-Maker. You sit here once you’ve reached maturity in the faith and can begin to teach others. That doesn’t mean you stop growing, but it does mean that, in the words of Jesus, “everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.”
On this illustration, Dann Spader builds his discipleship strategy. 4 Chair Discipling breaks the process of sanctification into four steps and, as the book unfolds, talks about the unique challenges and opportunities of each step. Among his profound insights is that those in chair 4, the Disciple-Makers, may actually look like a threat to “traditional church structure.” Instead of hanging around and helping out in the church, they may be more involved in their own ministries. Spader notes that churches often discourage this instead of encouraging it and reminds the church that we are to build disciples who can make disciples, not disciples we can control.
Disciple-making has always a passion of mine. I will unabashedly state that I sit in the fourth chair and it is my passion to see Christians grow up and radically affect their communities for Christ. Building on this simple analogy, Spader has created one of the easiest-to-understand methods of discipleship that I’ve seen in a long time. Of course, his book isn’t exhaustive. No book on the topic can be. But it can be used as a wonderful instructional tool. I know that I’ll soon be pulling out the chairs and taking my youth group through this very process.