#4 We have been unwilling to call people to discipleship. 1
In many churches there seems to be an inherent fear that if the bar is raised to total commitment, attendance will drop. The exact opposite is true. It is the growing churches who call people to sacrifice and engagement with Gods grand plan of bringing his precious creation into his kingdom.
At age 18 I heard Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ say, Come, help us change the world for Christ. Man, for a young buck who wanted to do something significant for God, my heart leapt within me in eager response.
In our post-Christian world, the common wisdom is to lure seekers in our message by helping them see the faiths relevance to lifes daily challenges. This usually means appealing to self-interest, felt need, personal fulfillment, or a persons search for happiness. Oftentimes the message received is it is all about me, not about finding me only as I lose myself in Jesus. 2
Jesus was without hesitation in calling people to total commitment:
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it (Lk. 9:23, 24)
Jesus said to them, I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. (Jn. 6:53)
The third time [Jesus] said to him, Simon son of John, do you love me? Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, Do you love me? He said, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said, Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, Follow me!" (Jn. 21:17b-19)
Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. (Lk. 14:33b)
Dietrich Bonheoffer martyred in Germany during World War II for his stance against Hitler and his open confession of Christ stated, When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and dieCheap graceis grace without discipleship, grace without the cross.
QUESTION: Could it be that our reluctance to call people to a no holds barred commitment to Christ reveals our reluctance to radical commitment? The fact is that our own measured commitment produces a mediocre commitment in our portages.
1 Key ideas in this Facts are derived from Greg Ogden, Transforming Discipleship, Downers Grove, IL Inter-Varsity Press, 2003, 2 Ibid, p.50