HISGROUP DISCIPLESHIP. Most churches would like to have everything attractive--attractive worships, Sunday school, church programs, church building and interior, evangelism, and perhaps an attractive discipleship. They like to attract people.
Jesus didn’t have an attractive ministry and he never tried to make it so to attract people. His discipleship likewise was far from being alluring--nothing’s attractive about giving up all to follow him. You have to love him over and above all, more than anyone else--more than you love your family. In fact, you have to hate your father and mother and other important people in life to make it to his discipleship, give up everything you have, and suffer persecutions. You have to be least and servant of all.
Now tell me, is that attractive?
Love him more than anyone else? Forsake all to follow him? Why, who was he anyway? How attractive was he? When Jesus made these challenges he was not someone attractive. For instance, he was poor and didn’t even have a steady job. He didn’t have any property or even a church building, and at the outset he didn’t have any member. He was a “street bum,” as it is called today, doing nothing but roaming the streets, going here and there, being out of job. He didn’t even go to school. So, how can you challenge people to forsake all and follow you with that kind of ministry profile?
In churches today, you may join ministries that can make you popular–worship teams, choirs, dancing, singing, drama or skit clubs, or what I call stage-acts ministries. Stage performance makes you a celebrity or an icon, no wonder active church people want to be seen on stage. Churches offer this "exposure" and "publicity" and people like it so much. Pastors, on the other hand, get all the titles and degrees they can get to be attractive to people.
In Jesus’ discipleship, only Jesus could play the major role, and even the role he played wasn’t attractive. What attraction did a Sabbath law breaker have in a Jewish community? Some even saw him as demon-possessed. You could not brag about Jesus then unlike how you can brag of your titled and degreed pastor today, your air-conditioned mega church, posh church facilities, CCTV, big screens, and corporate church management. The Pharisees had similar ministry attractions in their days. Not Jesus.
So you see, Jesus didn’t have an attractive ministry.
Jesus and his ministry looked like failures, and his disciples looked no better. They were a bunch of unemployed young people who did everything contrary to Jewish customs and traditions–even contrary to law–making them a lot more unattractive. No wonder, only a few made serious commitments to him, and even they later abandoned him when the going got too tough.
Well, there were multitudes of crowds tailing behind him, amazed at the signs and wonders he wrought. But Jesus was not after audiences. He was after genuine disciples, followers who would give up everything–lose their lives and reputation–for him. Those who would carry their crosses and die with him. When it came to that, almost nobody wanted to get involved with him. Would you promote your church today by telling folks they’d lose their reputation, dignity, and properties if they joined you? Those were what Jesus said.
Churches today are worlds different from Jesus, his church and ministry, and discipleship. They want to get the world’s attention and they’d do everything to have it–even connect with corrupt government people or compromising showbiz personalities. They dare not look unattractive to the world. In fact, they spend millions just to be attractive to it. My Jesus would never do that. His Word said, friendship with the world is enmity with God.
So, you want to know how to have an attractive discipleship? The first step is to make it attractive only to Jesus. And the rest, God will add to you. Now, when I say “the rest God will add to you,” I don’t mean you’d live happily ever after. It may mean you’d only get more unattractive to the world.
If you want to teach the bible more effectively [not more attractively], the way you teach it should change lives, by God’s grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit.