I was editing our interview with pastor-church planter and singer-songwriter Justin McRoberts for our forthcoming Gospel Neighboring podcast this evening, when something he said hit home.
Justin has learned that to have a deep gospel influence on the few, he has to stop attempting to have a special relationship with the many.
When it comes to discipleship, we’re foolish if we think we’re more superhuman than Jesus. He walked with just 12 for 3 years, as Justin reminded me. And 11 of those 12 discipled others, and so on, until the world was flipped upside down.
Seven Hundred or Seven?
Church planters are especially prone to be people pleasers. We’d rather have a cheery superficial relationship with 700 than a deep, intentional, gutsy, vulnerable, apprenticeship relationship with 7.
We have to grow up and start being picky. We need to ask ourselves who Jesus is calling us to invest deeply into. We need to be picky about who may place high demands on our time, emotions, and prayer energies. We need to be choosey about who will be the Timothys in our lives, reliable folks to whom we will pass on what we’ve learned from Jesus so that they will be able to pass it along to others.
No Secret Handshakes
This isn’t the same thing as being cliquey. There aren’t secret hand shakes. There is no inner circle that runs the show without accountability. There isn’t ‘favortism’, as the close knit group of apprentices are not chosen based on their socioeconomic status. And there is no snooty exclusivism.
But there is focus and intentionality. There is a level of access that only a few can have, which others cannot demand.
Jesus had ambitions of spreading the glory of his Father across the face of the earth as the waters cover the sea. But that didn’t make him feel like 12 was too few to walk closely with and focus upon.
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