There is a balance and professionalism to the content in this book that I greatly appreciate. Sometimes I find "How To" books lean too heavily toward personal anecdotes or too strongly toward meticulous step-by-step procedures, making them appealing to narrower audiences. Dana, however, seems to have spoken to enough women to have rounded out her approach, creating an excellent resource that is as beneficial to someone curious about being discipled as it is to a woman seeking to begin, or gain greater insight and wisdom into, discipling.
This book does focus on one-on-one discipleship, although it is suggested that if a small group will be involved (such as in studying this book together), that a group of about 8 women provides for variety of viewpoints while keeping a group quaint enough to allow meaningful connection and confidential sharing. There are just a few pages in the back which give helpful tips and information if you intend to lead others through this book as a study.
The first section of this book focuses on 4 key foundational Scriptural realities that need to be in place prior to more in-depth study or beginning discipleship of another woman. If you find these overwhelming and think there is no point in reading the second half, I would encourage you to keep on, as the wisdom and encouragement in the following chapters is gentle, yet firm. If you find the first portion of the book to be a mere review of knowledge you've become long acquainted with over the years, carry on, as the latter portion of the book may challenge you to step out and grow, and much of her advice regarding relationships with women we may disciple would be excellent to apply in other relationship settings as well. Throughout the book are varying prompts to read specific passages of Scripture in your favorite translation and answer questions that follow to engage the reader in discovering a personal application. It's actually quite cleverly demonstrating for you how to discuss Scripture with another person, which she covers in greater detail in the latter portion of the book.
I appreciate the author's willingness to share things she's learned through error, specifically citing what she did, learned, and chose to do differently thereafter. Since I can be weary of books which attempt to give structure to something which also is abstract, such as the concept of discipleship (it will look very different with different pairs of individuals, no doubt, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to guarantee success), I was pleased to read the comment she had regarding what to do if a meeting does get rather off-topic due to an unplanned interruption, need, or change in circumstance. In her case, the woman was distressed over a matter, which they discussed at length and considered Biblically and with prayer. The discipler simply wrote "next time" on her notes for what Scripture she'd planned to discuss that day. "If you face something like this in a discipling meeting, I encourage you to see the situation not as 'off topic,' but as 'real life' discipleship that trumps your plan."
I would recommend this book to any woman interested in what discipleship could look like. I honestly think a great deal of women who are in leadership roles of the church could benefit from the grace and tact with which the author suggests viewing and addressing individuals when situations do not go as expected with those you are working with or overseeing. There is, indeed, a place for discipline within the church, but to remain true to the Bible's teaching, reprimands should be clearly called for, and administered with truth, love, and humility.
***In the interest of full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. I was not required to give a positive review; my opinions are my own.