“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”
Jesus had the kind of ministry that would immediately earn your respect today. More than five thousand people attended your convention? Was this really a ministry less than three years old?
“This Church has a pragmatic approach to ministry” the people must have thought. “It is meeting real needs while others are sermonizing. They gave us bread!” The story gets even better. The people came back for more bread! This Church growth strategy seemed to work like fire.
At this point, based on popular ideas, Jesus should have been thinking of writing a book: “MEGA CHURCH IN THREE YEARS- YOU TOO CAN DO IT.” It would sure be a best seller. It would contain the ultimate seeker sensitive strategy for church growth; Bring them in with miraculous food. Don’t teach them anything deep, they might never come back. Just tell them they can make it in life, and give seven steps to greatness- stuff everyone already wants. That’d do the trick. All Jesus had to do was play by these rules and, the sky would be the limit.
But what does he do? He says: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world…For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” (John 6:51, 53).
That was not very strategic. The people did not like what they heard and so they left-in their thousands. “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66).
Imagine that? People were willing to follow Jesus when their needs were being met, but as soon as Jesus said things they were uncomfortable with, they no longer cared. They risked losing eternal life simply because it did not sound like food digesting in their bellies.
DO THIS: Make sure your utmost loyalty is to the word, no matter how inconveniencing it might be.