Why Guardrails Matters

Jesus says He’s building His church and the gates of Hell (no matter how reinforced they are) won’t be able to overcome it (Matthew 16:18). And in Matthew 28, Jesus final words to his disciples are to go make more disciples. It’s no secret - Jesus builds His church - when we as His disciples - make disciples.

“So how exactly do you make disciples?”

As a discipleship pastor this is the question I ask our staff, my ministry friends, and myself. The most common response is: “Well, we’re working on that” or “I don’t really know.” And this is intriguing to me because there has never been a time in the history of Christianity when discipleship resources abound as they do today. A quick search on Amazon reveals an astounding 7,000 books on discipleship, so is another discipleship book really necessary considering the sheer volume of resources available today?

The short answer is yes.

Unlike other popular discipleship books that focus on what a disciple needs to know and do, Guardrails: 6 Principles for Multiplying Churches focuses building a bridge between the original disciple-maker (Jesus) and us. There must be a way, Alan argues, to emulate Jesus’ discipleship model for today. The reader will learn very quickly that what makes this book unique is that before disciple-makers can get into the nuts and bolts of discipleship content, the discipleship process must have a framework to guide the process and that framework should be S.H.A.R.R.P.! Effective discipleship is S.H.A.R.R.P. discipleship. What does that mean?

S = Simple
H = Holistic
A = Adaptable
R = Regular
R = Reproducible
P = Positive


While there is no magic bullet or secret recipe for effectively making disciples, Guardrails is the result of years and years of making disciples. Alan’s prayer is that these six principles can form a framework to guide disciple-makers through the risks of living in the way of Jesus (p. 149). “Discipleship is less like test taking and more like baking. We will certainly make mistakes when discipling others, but when one of these principles is absent, the whole discipleship process is thrown off” (p. 155).

Does your discipleship process need a tune-up? What gets communicated and taught in a discipling relationship is important, but is your process S.H.A.R.R.P.? Take the time to pick up or purchase a copy of Guardrails today.