Quotation of the Week

“Christian leaders seem to be reluctant to restate the terms of discipleship that Jesus laid out. What are the reasons for our reluctance? We are afraid that if we ask too much, people will stop coming to our churches…So we start with a low bar and try to entice people by increments of commitment, hoping that we can raise the bar imperceptibly to the ultimate destination of discipleship. In our post-Christan world, the common wisdom is to lure seekers to our message by helping them see the faith’s relevance life’s daily challenges. This usually means appealing to self-interest, felt need, personal fulfillment or a person’s search for happiness…If we start with a no-pain gospel, then it will only become disillusioning, for it will not deliver what was promised.”

Greg Ogden in Transforming Discipleship 


  1. Evangelism and discipleship that don’t expose people to the cost of discipleship at the front end won’t pass the sniff test :^).

    On the other hand, Jesus followed an incremental, parabolic method in making disciples that began by appealing to people’s cultural sense of self interest. He seems to have started broad in order to eventually create a potent but narrow (in a relative, numerical sense) group of followers.

    Jesus weeded folks out by speaking in parables and looking for those who were willing to act on his words and learn more about his mysterious sayings. He focused his efforts on the people who showed their interest by acting on his words. I think he taught clearly that most people who showed serious interest in him–even those exposed to the idea of suffering for the gospel at the front end–would eventually reject the cross because it was foolishness to the Greeks and to the mods and to the pomos and to the conventionally religious.

    Maybe the problem with some pomo approaches to evangelism and discipleship has less to do with an incremental approach that begins with and builds on specific cultural ideas of well being and more to do with the absence of the ‘lose life’ part of the salvation equation and a thoroughly un-Jesus like commitment to the idea of a widespread, popular Christian “church.”

  2. Yes! A resounding yes to Ogden. I have learned that it is easy to get a crowd but God must develop disciples. Converts are not hard to make but disciples must be forged by the work of the Spirit. This can only be done when we are sold out, following humbly after him. Technology won’t do it, a great band won’t do it and good preaching is empty without it.

    Follow hard!

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