The Gentle Art of Discipling Women
by Dana Yeakley
Softcover | Tyndale House | January 2016 | 208 Pages
Discipleship is a responsibility of every believer, yet many of us avoid doing it because we don’t know where to start. The Gentle Art of Discipling Women provides a framework for discipleship from the mentoring voice of a seasoned discipler. Dana Yeakley walks with you through the foundational principles of who you are in Christ and how you are uniquely equipped to pass along what He has taught you.
The book is divided into two parts:
- Be a Disciple: Four foundational truths (We Are Becoming; We Are Forgiven; We Have Access; We Are Safe) strengthen our confidence so that we can pass along our faith.
- Make a Disciple: Four questions (How Do We Create the Right Atmosphere? Who Do We Help? What Do We Share? How Does Discipling One-on-One Actually Work?) help us nurture a discipleship relationship.
The Gentle Art of Discipling Women will help each woman discover her unique gifting in discipleship through her relationship with God, her personality, and her story.
In The Gentle Art of Discipling Women, Dana Yeakley shares a system of discipling women that she has developed through years of experience. While reading this book I learned the difference between mentoring and discipling, ways to connect with women with the purpose of making them disciples of Christ, and helpful tips on how to structure our time together in order to build relationships as well as help the woman grow in her maturity as a Christian.
What I found somewhat interesting was the literary structure the author chose. Instead of jumping into why, who, and when of disciple making, she spent the first 4 chapters reviewing foundational truths – our forgiveness by grace, the guarantee of eternity for those who believe, access to God through prayer, and our ongoing sanctification. For women who are buying the book with the intention of discipling a woman who is younger in the faith, it was a strange way to begin. In my opinion, these chapters belong in an appendix titled “Ideas for Your First Meetings” or “Laying the Groundwork.” In Chapter 2 and then later in the book, a couple of personal stories felt disconnected from the point the author was trying to make. For example, as she recounts her experience during the Colorado Springs wildfires, it began to sound like she was guaranteeing the physical safety of believers when she stated, “Assurance of our safety is ours if we have entrusted our lives to Christ.” Thankfully, she recovered in the following paragraphs by emphasizing ours is an eternal security.
Once I began the second section, my interest level rose and I began to see the merits of the book. Chapters 6 & 7 were the most beneficial to me personally. In 6, Yeakley discusses different ways in which we may be introduced to the women we will disciple. One of my favorite bits of wisdom in this chapter is our need to, “agree upon why and for what aspect of her growth God has brought us together.” She also discusses setting a period of 6-12 months to work towards this growth goal. Chapter 7 warns disciple makers to evaluate and not assume the maturity of the woman you will be working with. Then, based on her readiness, prepare the proper diet of milk (1 Corinthians 3:1-2), solid food (Hebrews 5:11-14) or meaty content for the two of you to discuss.
Disciple making is not a one size fits all formula, so accordingly Yeakley’s model allows room for adjustments based on the individual needs of the woman we are discipling as well as our own personal preferences. Despite my hesitations at the start, I gained valuable insights, particularly in the areas intentionality and goal setting. I plan to pass my copy along to the Women’s Ministry team at my church.
3.5 out of 5
I received this book for free as a member of the Tyndale Blog Network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”