About the book: Guardrails

About the author: Alan Briggs


I’m posting some long quotes in this review; I hope you find them thoughtful and encouraging.

“Each day I pray at 10:02 a.m., I pray as Jesus commanded in Luke 10.2; The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” p.4 I thought it was interesting the way Alan made and prays in connection to the verse location of what he is praying for, creative.

“Many denominations started thriving, vital movements; over time they added levels of bureaucracy, and their momentum slowed.” p.13

“While our souls long for a movement, our flesh grabs for control, power, and validation. Every follower of Jesus has great possibility-God-given genius-but we also have the capacity to get in the way. If we are living in the way of Jesus, we are servants. As we humbly recognize our role, we must be ready to get out of the way at the right time… Kingdom leaders must recognize when their presence in a relationship or ministry is a hindrance. We need to practice what we preach about the priesthood of all believers.” p.17

What is the Kingdom of God?

“The kingdom of God is his reign and rule in all things. As Jesus modeled to us, we are invited to proclaim and embody that God is on his throne. Neither words nor actions alone our sufficient. God’s alternative kingdom story is an upside-down way of life. In God’s reign the last become the first, misfits are welcomed in, prejudice is crushed, old things are made new, busted things become beautiful, grace trumps work, dependence yields freedom, to die is gain, and people rejoice when they fall short. When I discuss these conundrums with others, I find they resonate deep in the human soul. Every human soul is longing for redemption. The Gospels fascinate people of all faith preferences because in nearly every situation Jesus turns the world on it’s head. We all want to live in such realities.” p.23

“If our way of “going missional” doesn’t involve making disciples, then it isn’t missional at all.” p.32

“Our identity in Christ comes before the work we do, not because of the work we do.” p.78

” I have created many environments where I unconsciously tried to motivate others through self-reliance, shame, and guilt. I wish I had learned the principle of positivity earlier. I have come to realize that shame-based discipleship is not discipleship at all; it’s an attempt at behavior modification.

 “Shame has been our default setting since the Garden of Eden. We often try to start our discipleship paradigm with a negative perspective… We live in a busted world, where injustice is far too prevalent and our places are full of cracks. Social issues are in our face today. Globalization and technology have brought issues from halfway across the globe to our smartphones. But in the midst of all things, one of the things that disturbs me me the most is that many christians are taking a posture of guarding instead of blessing, throwing grenades instead of loving others. Blessing others is not about agreeing with everything in their lives; it’s about loving them as Jesus would. Let’s not get so distracted about bad news in this world that we forget there’s good news.” p. 124-125

“The gospel is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I tell people. “You will get to the end of me in fifteen minutes, and then you’ll get to Jesus”… I want to be part of groups that rejoice in the finished work of Christ, not groups that dwell on the unfinished work in me. I want to be part of a movement, not a critique. I want to proclaim and embody the life-changing gospel with those hearing it for the first time and to share it again with those who need to be reminded.” p.133

So many books have been written about discipleship, and honestly I am a bit weary with discipleship books because I observe little improvement (if any). Of course, I am writing about my own community and the local churches that I have been a part of. I am unable to observe what others are doing. I don’t know how many discipleship books need to be written, but I am glad that there continues to be somebody who still recognizes the importance of discipleship. I cannot criticize too much because I also fail in this area. Which is why I continue to read discipleship books, so I can learn and experience a fresh approach to an old problem.

Guardrails is broken onto two parts: Foundations and Principles. Part one, Foundations explains the purpose for discipleship, the biblical reason for why discipleship is important. Part two, Principles explains the six guardrails that Alan identifies as necessary principles of discipleship. The SHARRP acrostic created and defined by Alan is thoroughly discussed by him within the pages, they are, discipleship must be simple, holistic, adaptable, regular, reproducible, and positive. Alan describes the application of the principles and the book concludes with a apprentice culture assessment.

I found Alan’s suggestions helpful, the SHARRP principles are certainly worth continuing to think about. Some of the material in the book is repetitive, as I wrote earlier, there are so many discipleship books available and they continue to be printed. I personally found the chapter on positivity to be the most helpful. I was challenged and made aware of some of my own failures and sin.

In exchange for an honest review Tyndale Blog Network provided me copy of this book.I have written an honest review.