The Cost of Discipleship

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Heinrich Himmler—the main architect of the Holocaust—ordered the execution of Dietrich Bonhoeffer at the Flossenburg concentration camp on 9 April 1945. Bonhoeffer, a prominent Lutheran theologian, was executed for his Christian faith and for his resistance to National Socialism.

Before his martyrdom, however, Bonhoeffer produced one of the most powerful and influential Christian texts of the 20th Century—The Cost of Discipleship. This text challenges us to reject “cheap grace” and to embrace a radical life of single-minded obedience of Christ. If you feel like you are living for the wrong things (success, wealth, power, recognition, pleasure?), if you struggle to make time for God, if you feel purposeless, or if you simply want to get closer to Christ, this book is for you.

Please join us as we study The Cost of Discipleship in 2020. Here is how it will work. We will all read 20-30 pages per week (see course calendar below), and then “discuss” the text via Instagram. The course facilitators* will post questions and videos (from the account @AreopagusEducation with the hashtag #AreopagusBonhoeffer) and course members will respond, discuss, and post their own thoughts. Think of it as an online book club.

Beyond the online discussions, we plan on organizing four optional in-person seminars (location TBD) so that we can all meet, connect on a deeper level, and discuss the text face-to-face.

The course will run from 10 January to 3 May 2020.

The course is free.

To sign up simply send an email with your name and instagram name to letting us know you will be joining us.

Then, purchase this exact edition of the text. We all have to have the same edition so that our page numbers align (the 1995 Touchstone edition is also acceptable as the page numbers match).

That’s it. We hope and pray you will join us!

Getting Started

  1. Purchase the text (see link above).
  2. Make sure you have been added to the Instagram group chat. If you have not, send an email to with your IG handle.
  3. Introduce yourself to the rest of the book club on the IG chat. Give us a bit of your story and what you hope to gain from this experience.
  4. Read “How to Mark a Book” by Mortimer Adler. Don’t worry, it’s short. We hope you will follow his advice and that you will annotate The Cost of Discipleship instead of simply reading it.
  5. Watch the intro videos (that will be posted in the coming days) on the @AreopagusEducation IG page. To find these videos you can search using the #AreopagusBonhoeffer hashtag.
  6. That’s it, the book club will start on 10 January, but Week 1 will not start until the 13th. This is to give everyone a few days to get settled before we begin.

Book Club Rhythm and Procedures

  1. Please aim to finish the weekly reading by Thursday at the latest.
  2. On Wednesdays, the course facilitators will post three questions in the @AreopagusEducation feed using the #AreopagusBonhoeffer hashtag. Please reply to as many of the questions as you like, but please reply in the comments below the post (in other words, please do not reply in your own new post or in the group chat). We encourage you to engage with each other, and not just with the course facilitators. Let’s build some community here!
  3. If, as you read, you would like to make your own post about the book club to share with your followers, we encourage you to use the #AreopagusBonhoeffer hashtag so that we all can see it, but please do not reuse the image we will be using to ask book club questions. This is just so that people can find our questions easily on the hashtag page.
  4. We do plan on doing some Instagram live discussions as well as a few face-to-face seminars. More to follow on this!

*We use the term “facilitator” instead of “teacher” because this is a collaborative learning endeavor in which everyone learns from each other.

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