The Imperfect Disciple
Grace for People Who Can't Get Their Act Together
Too many discipleship books are written for perfect people who know all the right Sunday school answers.
This book is for the rest of us--people who screw up, people who are weary, people who are wondering if it's safe to say what they're really thinking. With incisive wit, warm humor, and moving stories, Jared Wilson shows us how the gospel actually works through us and in us, even when we can't get our act together. The result is a faith that weathers storms, lifts burdens, and deepens our friendship with God.
"Few things steal vitality and life in Christ like forgetting that we are human. Jared does a great job, with his humorous yet serious style, reminding us of God's perfection in the midst of our inconsistencies, fears, and falls. The grace of God found in this book will encourage and remind the saint that there is only One who is perfect--and that perfection is enough for all who believe on the name of Jesus."--Matt Chandler, lead teaching pastor of The Village Church
"Jared ties everything he has to say about being and loving disciples to the realities of what Jesus has already done. And that, dear friends, is what sets this wonderful book apart from all the others."--Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, counselor and speaker; author of Because He Loves Me
"Wilson takes our idea of discipleship--you know, the list of things we need to do to be a perfectly obedient Christian--and turns it on its head. Discipleship is not about our to-do lists; it's about the glorious gospel. Wilson helps us refocus so that our obedience is no longer about us."--Trillia Newbell, author of Enjoy, Fear and Faith, and United
Jared C. Wilson is the director of content strategy for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and managing editor of For the Church. He is the author of numerous books, including Unparalleled, The Story of Everything, The Prodigal Church, and Gospel Wakefulness. His blog, The Gospel-Driven Church, is hosted by the Gospel Coalition, and he speaks at numerous churches and conferences throughout the year.
"Few things steal vitality and life in Christ like forgetting that we are human. Jared does a great job, with his humorous yet serious style, reminding us of God's perfection in the midst of our inconsistencies, fears, and falls--in other words he has faithfully 'demystified discipleship.' Whether you feel you're barely hanging in there or riding a wave of joy-saturated obedience, the grace of God found in this book will encourage and remind the saint that there is only One who is perfect--and that perfection is enough for all who believe on the name of Jesus."
Matt Chandler, lead teaching pastor, The Village Church
"Even though St. Paul wrote that the gospel was 'of first importance,' for some reason most people, even Christians (no less), don't really believe it. The majority of those who self-identify as evangelicals would pay lip-service to the sinless life, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, and sovereign reign of Jesus, the God-Man, but when it comes down to the practical, rubber-meets-the-road nitty-gritty of daily life--well, we've weighed the gospel in the balances and found it wanting. What we want are practical steps about how to build a discipleship group and facilitate communication, and though those things aren't wrong in themselves, we want to do it detached from the gospel itself. Which, of course, means that it's doomed to failure before we even start. But this book is different. Jared ties everything he has to say about being and loving disciples to the realities of what Jesus has already done. And that, dear friends, is what sets this wonderful book apart from all the others. Please do buy it. Buy one for a friend. And then read it together--and rejoice in the gospel."
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, counselor and speaker; author of Because He Loves Me
"Too often discipleship is described in strings of clichés. In The Imperfect Disciple, Jared Wilson cuts the string, shares his story, and helps readers envision following Jesus in clear, inviting, and realistic ways. It's personal, prophetic, and pastoral and it will help readers reimagine discipleship as a real possibility in the midst of ordinary life."
Mike Cosper, founder and director, Harbor Media
"Yet another discipleship book. Perhaps you had those thoughts when you picked up Jared Wilson's Imperfect Disciple. It's not. Not even close. Wilson takes our idea of discipleship--you know, the list of things we need to do to be a perfectly obedient Christian--and turns it on its head. Discipleship is not about our to-do lists; it's about the glorious gospel. Wilson makes us dizzy with gospel truth and disoriented by beholding the Lamb of God. He helps us refocus so that our obedience is no longer about us. You'll be encouraged as you read this book about discipleship."
Trillia Newbell, author of Enjoy, Fear and Faith, and United
"It is a hard thing to win people to Jesus who already know him. For too many Christians, the gospel exists only as white noise, always present but rarely heard. Consequently, many Christians know all about freedom but are not actually free. They are good people, but their goodness has begun to strangle them. This is what happens when Christians become desensitized to the good news of Christ, and it is a tall order to snap them awake, but that is exactly what Jared Wilson positions himself to do. Drawing from his own story, The Imperfect Disciple is a book about grace for people who know about grace. It replaces our neat and tidy notions of discipleship with the real-life messiness of real people--even the 'good' ones. For anyone who draws confidence--or shame--from the belief that God is keeping track of their goodness, this book is for you."
Sharon Hodde Miller, writer and speaker
"Follow Jared as he demystifies discipleship on this unpredictable quest into the kindness of Christ."
Christian George, curator of The Spurgeon Library; assistant professor of historical theology at Midwestern Seminary; author of Sex, Sushi, and Salvation
"While most every Christian would joyfully acknowledge that we are saved by grace alone, many of us live as if our ongoing growth in Jesus is not driven and sustained by that same grace. In terms of our discipleship, we suffer from the same self-justifying tendencies that would keep us from the cross to begin with. I'm grateful, then, for this refreshing, grace-saturated, and realistic treatment of what it means to follow Jesus."
Michael Kelley, director of discipleship at Lifeway Christian Resources; author of Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life
"I own my bias, but this is the most refreshing and encouraging book of discipleship I've read in the past decade. For twenty-one years, I had the priceless experience of being pursued, loved, and fathered by a 5'6'' gospel Yoda named Jack Miller--my advisor and professor at Westminster Seminary. Jack taught me, showed me, and prayed into my bones that my need for Jesus is far greater than I'll realize in this life, but that the grace of Jesus is exponentially more extravagant, outrageous, and liberating than I could ever imagine or hope. With tears, I write this 'blurb,' because Jared has given fresh words, voice, and understanding to this grand reality. Everything about me is imperfect, so I'm just like you. Together, let's seek to discover the much-more-ness of the perfect gospel. Jared helps us do so, with his words and heart."
Scotty Smith, teacher in residence, West End Community Church, Nashville, Tennessee
"I've read too many 'discipleship' books that made me feel, somehow, less. This book is the exact, wonderful opposite. It's like talking with a very insightful friend about Jesus. It's honest, thoughtful, and unpretentious. Thank you, Jared."
Brant Hansen, storyteller/radio guy, CURE International
"In a world--and church--infatuated with 'leaders,' 'platforms,' and 'influence,' The Imperfect Disciple offers a much-needed antidote to our leadership overdose: following. Jared Wilson reminds us that following Christ is not about what we do but about who we are. And we need be no more--or no less--than flawed but faithful disciples of the One who has already won all of our battles for us."
Karen Swallow Prior, PhD, author of Booked and Fierce Convictions--The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More
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