The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects Of Our Calling, by John Stott
Although I was not unfamiliar with the author’s work from my own reading , this was not a book I could find in my local library and so I felt it necessary to purchase it for myself, which I do from time to time but not very often. Why did I feel it necessary to purchase the book in the first place? As it happens, the book was one of two recommended by the speakers at a recent leadership conference my church held in Portland  for leaders among the congregations of our region and when people giving presentations mention books as being important or as having something worthwhile to say, my attention is immediately drawn to what those books have to say and what implications those books have. In this case, this book is a wonderful read and is certainly a worthwhile one to read, and as I expected to be the case this book has quite a few implications for the church I attend that I feel it necessary to explore in some detail. This is a slim book, and by no means an exhaustive one, but it definitely points to some interesting directions that are worth exploring as they relate to the Church of God.
Before I talk about those implications, though, I would like to comment about the book’s contents and how they are presented. This book is a short volume of less than 140 pages, and so it does not take long to read. The version I had included some edits from later in the author’s life as he reflected on death and aging as well. Beginning with a preface that discussed whether believers should consider themselves first and foremost as disciples (those following Christ and under His discipline) or merely as Christians (those who profess to follow Christ), the author then moves to a discussion of eight qualities that believers should have that are often neglected in this present evil age. The eight qualities are as follows: nonconformist (with the culture of this world and the spirit of this age), being like Christ (setting a good example for the world), mature, caring for God’s creation, showing simplicity (rather than extravagance), being balanced, accepting our dependence on God and (at times) on others as well (especially as we age), and having a proper view of death and facing it without fear. After this there is a short conclusion about the importance of obeying what God and Jesus Christ have commanded before the author takes his leave with a brief postscript.
In reading this book I took some pointers as to why this book was considered so important by the presenters from our media team. For one, the book has a strong and consistent approach of calling upon Christians to develop maturity and become like Christ and to obey the commandments of the Bible. There were plenty of elements I found intriguing, though, such as the way that the author considered the personal example of believers to be an important aspect of the evangelism of the Church. Likewise, the author commented that while many church leaders view numerical growth as being a decisive aspect of success in evangelism that the depth and growth of believers has to be taken into account as well, signifying a desire to shift the expectations of growth of the Church of God from numbers to increasing spiritual maturity. Also, I found of interest that the author spent some space on talking about the ecological duties of believers as stewards of God’s creation, an area where the Church of God has not spent much time talking or writing about. Perhaps there will be a shift of emphasis in this regard as well. At any rate, this was an extremely interesting book and certainly one well worth reading. If any of the people who attended the Leadership conference are interested in reading the book for themselves, I am willing to loan you the book so you can come to your own conclusions about what this book’s arguments mean for the evangelism for the Church of God.
 See, for example: