“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” – Jesus’ idea of a call to discipleship
How would you like a hand full of fishermen (and some other odd, unknown men) following you around the country side for three years? When you wake up they are there, when you lay down they are there. When they need food, they look to you. When they need directions, instructions, answers, they look to you. They don’t understand half of what your saying and less of what you’re actually doing. When they act on your behalf they seem to do the very things you’d never dream of doing. That has got to be the worst church plant strategy of all time!- being followed around 24/7 by a rag tag bunch of guys who don’t seem to get it.
From a church growth strategy point of view (if your not familiar with that idea- yeah they actually have written volumes of books, blogs, articles, held conferences on how best to make your church grow bigger -no link needed, do a google search) Jesus’ methodology is flawed. In fact it doesn’t even start right! He doesn’t find the influencers in culture or the region he is trying to reach. He mostly goes to obscure places (guess he didn’t have a very good regional growth statistics team) and hardly stays long enough to keep a crowd (in fact it seems he is more likely to hide from the crowd, slip through the crowd, leave the crowd, insult the crowd, anger the crowd or lead the crowd into impossible situations); He doesn’t seem to care enough about his reputation, the rewards that following him could bring, or how explosive ministry actually works (you know, you catalyze a movement- by hosting big events, spending your time with the mover, shakers, money, well-known bloggers, and getting the invites, doing the video/podcast, simulcast conferences, writing the books and getting the sponsors). He doesn’t do ANY of that!
Discipleship Jesus style is SO inefficient! I doubt many churches would have backed Jesus as a movement maker or a church planter if they knew he was hoping to pour into primarily 12 guys over three years- then die, and leave them behind to carry on (I’d like to see that promo brochure sent out to potential donors). When he answered, in the church plant assessment question, “What’s your plan for being a church that reproduces other churches?” he fills out “Die!”- that probably would have raised some flags.
Yet, we (all Christians and even many who wouldn’t call themselves Christians) would have loved to be with him, taught by him, do life with him. To authentically experience, to touch the person of Jesus – would have been life changing for all of us!
It still is– when discipleship is done with Jesus and with others in the inefficient ways of life on life- in the midst of laughter, tears, confusions; You at my house- me at your house; You seeing where I am broken and need the truth of God to remake me; Me having permission to press these same truths into your life. Our lives don’t stay the same.
This way of discipleship will probably never get the credit it deserves or the press it needs, at least not here on earth. It will mean in many small unseen places and ways there will be those who will take up the cross of Christ and die to self to spend countless hours waiting on the sick (both physically and spiritually), taking the criticisms of being inefficient and misinformed on good methodology, sacrificing far beyond their own worldly means (even threatening their own comforts or the comforts of their family), being misunderstood, lonely, unknown – and in the end die, with the hope that this is how God designed the Church to reproduce and find life!
How do you plan to make disciples?