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Review: Creating Disciple Making Movements

Creating Disciple Making Movements: How the Making of Holistic Disciples Is Central to the Mission of Christ

By Paul E. Johnson (Independent, 2012)


Review by David Sanford

Director of Institutional Marketing

Corban University


Paul E. Johnson, D.Min. (Western Seminary), hasn’t always served the Lord within a Christian university context. For a decade he and his wife labored as Bible teachers and church planters in urban central Mexico.  Concurrently Johnson worked to ignite a mission vision among believers and with church leaders. As a Great Commission vision grew, Johnson worked with key leaders to launch a mission agency among the Bible Churches of central Mexico.

Today, Johnson is passionate about effectively mobilizing young adults to go and make disciples—and to plant churches among all peoples, everywhere. How passionate? Johnson himself went back to school.

In his new book, Johnson demonstrates that the core of Christ’s mission is the making of mature disciples who are transformed into Christ’s likeness and reproduce other holistic disciples to form disciple-making movements. Beginning next year, Johnson’s book will become recommended or required reading in his intercultural classes at Corban University.

Johnson’s book, Creating Disciple Making Movements, offers four benefits to readers.  The fourth benefit also offers some unexpected and controversial surprises.

First, his book provides thorough biblical analysis. “As obedient followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is vital to understand how Jesus Christ defined his mission for his followers in the world.”

Second, Johnson presents four examples from church history “of groups or individuals who pursued the fulfillment of the mission of Christ through the making of holistic disciples and, to some degree, disciple-making movements.”

Third, he provides insight into effective methods to create disciple-making movements within the Church today.

Fourth, Johnson’s book presents the results of three questions answered by 20 scholars who have significantly influenced the dialogue and development of the “missional church” in Western evangelical thought.

  • Glenn McDonald
  • Craig Ott
  • Darrell Guder
  • Ron Kincaid
  • Chris Adsit
  • Robert Lewis
  • Greg Ogden
  • Alan Hirsch
  • Michael Frost
  • Alan Roxburgh
  • Steve Strauss
  • Dennis McCallum
  • Jim Smith
  • Aubrey Malphurs
  • Craig Van Gelder
  • David Sills
  • Dallas Willard
  • Keith Matthews
  • David J. Hesselgrave
  • Ed Stetzer

So, what was the focus of Johnson’s three questions? #1 explores how the respondents define the mission of Jesus Christ. #2 seeks to determine the priority that the respondent place on the disciple-making mandate from their understanding of the mission of Christ. #3 probes the concept of missional movements to discover if the authors promote a disciple-making focus as a reproducing movement.

While Johnson’s questions seem “safe” enough, the spectrum of answers proves provocative and controversial. Johnson’s most surprising finding? The “missional church” has divided into two distinct camps.

Creating Disciple Making Movements is available through Amazon and other major online book retailers. It's also available at


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