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Carlton Coon – Root Before Fruit!

Disciple-making starts with a convert. The convert is undeveloped raw material. A disciple-maker seeks to develop a mature follower of Christ. Understanding the process of development is important.

There is a reason calculus is not taught in kindergarten. The basics of math don’t exist in kindergarteners. Without the basics, the student cannot comprehend or apply a concept. To someone who has taught calculus for decades, calculus is simple. It is not simple to a five-year-old.

In a similar way, basic Bible doctrines are simple and logical to me. I’ve been engaged with them for decades. New converts need someone to hold their hand as they take baby steps.

A pastor may teach a wonderful series connecting the books of Leviticus and Hebrews. New converts, the church’s current “kindergarten” class, will likely not be engaged. Converts may just choose to stay home.

Converts need a shallow end of the pool. In all growth processes, the basic precedes the advanced. Twice the Bible has the phrase, “Take root downward and bear fruit upward.” The root precedes the fruit! At Calvary, our first level of instruction for converts is Take Root. Take Root deals with topics like prayer, church attendance, spending time with the Bible and salvation. It is a small group setting. The ten lessons of Take Root are as interactive as possible. Students do all the Bible reading. Discussion is encouraged. Each student has his or her own Take Root student booklet. To “graduate” from Take Root a student also completes homework.

Taking converts along a path of baby steps has resulted in growth and progress. A review of one lesson of the baby steps in Take Root is available by emailing me at Monthly, on the last Tuesday (7:30 CST) join my Facebook Live Webinar on Disciple-making.

Carlton L. Coon Sr. pastors (Springfield, Missouri). He is a past director of North American Missions for the UPCI and author of 22 books.  For a seminar or consultation on Disciple-making e-mail  Blog posts and resources are available at

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