Book Review: Walking as Jesus Walked
By: Dann Spader
Published By: Moody Publishers ISBN: 9780802447098
A few weeks back I received an offer to participate in an evaluation of a new study on the life and teaching of Jesus. The devotional study is titled, Walking as Jesus Walked: Making Disciples the Way Jesus Did; it is authored by Dann Spader and published by Moody Publishers. Our family is always open to new study and devotional material, so I thought this would be a great way to start the New Year and enter the season of Epiphany with a study on the discipleship ministry of Jesus.
We’ve had almost two full weeks of engagement with Walking as Jesus Walked and I believe I can say on behalf of our three-person group, all of us are enjoying it. I base my group assessment on the amount of lively dialogue we have been having most mornings as we discuss the questions and ponder the Scripture passages we read with each study lesson.
Form and Function:
The study is crafted to meet the needs of a diverse demographic. It can be used as an individual devotional study with the workbook serving as an interactive journal or it can be used for any number and styles of group study. Also, I think the questions and format of the lessons are written in such a way that they are understandable to a broad age range, easily from high school age youth to any adult. And, I wouldn’t hesitate to say I think the study could be used for elementary and middle schoolers with some minor tweaking of the discussion questions.
The workbook study is arranged in daily lessons designed to span a period of 10-weeks. The author and support team have invested much in providing a number of helpful resources for the Walking as Jesus Walked study. A website has been created that hosts, or links to, online and downloadable help tools; there are free videos available introducing each of the 10-week lesson topics and a free leader’s guide has been provided that can also be downloaded or used online.
As mentioned earlier, my family is enjoying this study and we are challenged by the questions and ensuing discussions we’ve had. I look forward to the coming weeks as we continue to engage the life of Christ and how we might practically live out “walking as Jesus walked.”
Aesthetically, I love the layout of the book. It is very “open” and text is not jumbled or arranged in big blocks. I think this might be appealing to folks who don’t typically read a lot. I suppose what I mean to say is the “reading” sections aren’t intimidating and it doesn’t take a great deal of time to engage them. There are sections that are fairly heavy with Scripture references and instructions to “look them up” and “copy them in the space provided.” This isn’t pervasive throughout the book, but there are quite a few of these exercises in the beginning lessons as the foundations of the study are laid during the first couple weeks. Also, considering the layout, there is plenty room to write in the workbook with lined spaces as well as very generous margins. Speaking of margins, there are occasional quotations added to the margins that serve as additional inspiration, encouragement, and challenge. Some of the persons quoted are John Calvin, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther, Corrie ten Boom, A.W. Tozer, and Watchman Nee just to name a few.
One thing I would offer in the way of warning, not necessarily critique, is this; Spader states in the introductory remarks that the each lesson should take only 10-15 minutes. This might be subjective, but it definitely has not been the experience of our family. We allocate 20-30 minutes each morning for our devotional lessons around the breakfast table and it takes every bit of that time to get the lesson completed. Several mornings we have been rushed to complete the lesson and even had to cut our discussions short. Again, this is not meant as a criticism, but a point of awareness. I think, especially if the study is done in a group setting, 45 minutes to an hour would be more suitable and spacious for discussion and conversation. It is, after all, in the course of dialogue (internal and external) where we process the thoughts and ideas that bring change to our lives and ultimately the transformation helping us to “walk as Jesus walked.”
I’m grateful to have been invited to review this study as it is already proving itself valuable with the conversations our family has around the breakfast table. I am hopeful I might have the opportunity to see the lessons and workbook used in a different setting as I plan to bring it before my small group as an option for our use together. In summary, I consider the content, layout, interactive elements, and support material very well thought out and assembled. I would recommend it for any group, class, or individual study. My ranking is five out of five stars.
Links and Resources:
- Chapter One Preview – Free Download (.pdf)
Jesus must be our model for ministry. Sounds obvious, right? Or is it? Jesus, in all His humanity (and all His divinity) shows us the best possible way to live. Through the way He lived, He modeled the priorities of how to multiply “much fruit.” The proof being His disciples. Following Jesus’ example, His disciples then changed the course of history.
How then can we follow Jesus’ example? We must study His life. How did Jesus pray? In what types of relationships did He invest? Where were His priorities? Can my priorities be His priorities? Can I walk like He walked? What we do with Jesus MATTERS. Global ministry trainer Dann Spader practically and helpfully walks us through 10 weeks of exciting, ministry-altering study to really begin to walk as Jesus walked.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Moody Publishers to read and post a review on my site. 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.”