Power Surge: Six Marks of Discipleship for a Changing Church

by Michael W. Foss. Fortress Press, 2000.

Michael Foss asserts that churches today are called to shift from a "membership" model to a "discipleship" model. He uses simple illustrations to discuss the leadership elements of discipleship churches. One element is the role of the pastor: in a discipleship church, the pastor shifts from being the chaplain (caregiver, teacher, and preacher) to being a spiritual leader (guide and mentor). Another element is the church culture: a discipleship church embodies decentralized pastoral care and a gifts-based congregation that is driven by its commitment to mission and vision rather than membership. To discover the mission and vision God intends for the community, discipleship congregations clarify and articulate their values and beliefs. These congregations are authentic, clearly stating and modeling who they are. And they are willing to take risks to fulfill their God-given calling. Foss outlines the six marks of discipleship that measure the spiritual practices of both church governing structures and laity: daily prayer, weekly worship, Bible reading, service, spiritual friendships, and giving. Each chapter straightforwardly presents the "why’s" and "how to’s" of the concepts. Questions for prayerful reflection at the end of each chapter should help clergy and laity assess where they are and where they need to go as they move from a membership-driven to a discipleship-driven church.