Dick Woodward’s ministry partner, businessman Dois Rosser, asked Dick to write a how-to manual for:
- Leading a secular person to Christ,
- Discipling someone who has come to faith, and
- Turning every day you spend in the marketplace into an adventure with Christ.
After reading the final product, I’m certain Dois would agree that he got more than he hoped for.
Marketplace Disciples succeeds beyond the ‘marketplace’ where most of us earn a paycheck. In a greater sense it succeeds in the marketplace of ideas, where there is no shortage of ideas about how to live your life. Atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, religious ideologies, post-modernism, apathy, self-centeredness—you name it.
But here is the big idea: Until Jesus Christ is everything in your life, He really isn’t anything in your life. Dick learned this basic truth from his mother. It doesn’t take long to figure out that Dick takes discipleship very seriously. The difference between Dick and someone like David Platt is that, like the apostle Paul, Dick bears the marks of Jesus on his body.
Dick can’t type. He can’t move his fingers. Or sit up in bed, or scratch his nose. If his head slides off his pillow someone else has to prop him back up. You get the picture—it takes enormous energy and determination to produce even a small amount of text, let alone this 324-page book, using speech recognition software. His voice-control skills are quite impressive. I wouldn’t want to be Dick’s editor—he is a strict grammarian and a meticulous writer.
So why should you read Marketplace Disciples? Dick has 50 years of discipleship experience. The man knows what he is talking about, what works, why it works, and most importantly why it matters. He has walked with a lot of people, and has clearly earned his credentials. Even Ravi Zacharias has been deeply moved by Dick’s ministry.
But if I were to get to the heart of the matter, the best reason is that Dick is one of the most joy-filled people I know. You would be hard pressed to find anyone with a brighter outlook, or anyone who could offer more encouragement to those needing a kind word.
There is obviously a strong connection between the man, his walk, and the material in this book. Looking for a roadmap to a happy life?
Where Can I Get Marketplace Disciples?
The book is just back from the printers, but you can pick up a copy at the Williamsburg Community Chapel Resource Center, or order it online from the ICM shop. ICM published this book, as they have published Dick’s other written and audio materials. Eventually it should be available on Amazon.
Dick Woodward’s Theology of Discipleship
When I stopped by Dick’s house to pick up my copy, Dick said there are a lot of ideas in this book that are uniquely his. He jokingly refers to them as ‘heresies’, but the truth is these are Godly insights gleaned from an amazing career in ministry. Please join me in prodding Dick for one more book, laying out his systematic theology in devotional form.
Want samples? Here are just a few that jumped off the pages of Marketplace Disciples.
In many ways the concept of laity and clergy has done great damage to the function of the church in this world. The result of making this distinction has excused millions of believers for hundreds of years from applying Scriptures to their own personal faith in ministry. When many have read verses like these I am referencing, they believe the applications are not for them but for the clergy. It is vitally important for us to realize that these verses and their applications are for every believer. (Pg. 19)
I reject the terms people use when they refer to a bedfast quadriplegic like me. The derivation of the word handicap has to do with a person with their cap in their hand begging. Invalid means “not valid,” or a person who is not a valid human being. And disability means without ability. I like to refer to people like me as limited. We all have to accept the limits of our limitations and the responsibility for our ability. Even Olympic athletes have limits. They call them records. They can only run or swim so far, so fast. And they can only jump so high or throw things so far. The only difference between people like me and others is that we live with a different set of limits. (Pg. 68)
Believing in the only hope of this world and the blessed hope of the church, is it not criminal negligence for us to work in the marketplace next to people who have no hope, and not tell them about that hope? (Pg. 237)
Have we built the Altar of Relationship? I believe there is a serious lack of preaching on the subject of the pursuit of God today. As we learned in chapter 5, if we will confess the values of Christ in the marketplace, among other things,we will know we are to be God-passionate people. In two places, Jesus taught we are to ask continuously, and with perseverance we are to seek, which is intense asking, continuously and with perseverance. Then we are to knock, which is intense seeking, continuously and with perseverance, if we want to break through to an authentic relationship with God. (Pg.248)
This is one of many, many Bible stories that show us what I like to call Patterns of Providence. We might also call the stories Patterns of Divine Guidance. When you seek God’s will, look for such patterns. They may not be as extraordinary or obviously supernatural, but they will be evidence of the great miracle that God leads in patterns. (Pg. 266)
Where did we ever get the idea we should expect to understand everything that happens to us? Where did we ever get the absurd notion that God owes us an explanation for everything He has done and is doing in our world and in our lives? If God gave us an explanation for everything and the answers to all our why questions, the very essence of faith, and the need for faith, would be eliminated. (Pg. 280)
This is a gem of a book, from the master of devotional Bible study, and you will be quite blessed by reading it.
HT: Ginny Woodward, Virginia Woodward and Dwight Woodward—three saints whose tireless devotion and love make Dick’s prolific ministry possible.