Jesus was brilliant. I know I sound like Captain Obvious, but Jesus knew how to build something that would last for millenniums. He invested three years in 12 men and then left them right when the church was about to be birthed. The 11 that remained as followers plus a small group of committed women then changed the world.
Why is this idea so hard for modern church leaders to grasp? Why do we continue to use Western marketing principles that ultimately fail instead of using the simple methods of Jesus, which are rock solid?
I am building a ministry to men at New Life and I have decided to spend the next three years building a group of leaders emphasizing relationships and not events or classes. We will have some events and some classes, but we will focus most of our effort on living our lives in authentic community. We are going to go deep before we grow wide.
Most people looking from the outside may think we are not that successful because I cannot point to big attendance numbers as proof. Please pray for me that I will not give in to the temptation to simply get a big crowd to come to an event. My goal at the end of the three years is to have around 200 men from every generation who will help me pastor the 5000 or so men who call New Life home. My goal is not to get the 5000 to show up at some meeting.
Crowds do not multiply, but disciples do. The challenge will be to marinate and not succumb to the microwave mentality that plagues the American church world. We want instant “success” like we want instant rice. We want to be on Top 100 lists even though Jesus would have never made it himself.
Only 120 were in the Upper Room and they were tired, scared and immature. Then they changed the culture of the evil Greco-Roman world in which they lived. They had depth because they had been built from the inside out. The crowds ultimately abandoned Jesus, but those who were in relationship with him stood firm.
I am returning to the ancient because it is the hope for the postmodern world in which I pastor and lead. Come marinate in deep relationships with me. Let’s go deep before we grow wide. Let’s change the world one friendship at a time.