Qualifications For The Five Fold – Part II
In our last blog we discussed the principle: Jesus spoke; they followed! What does “following” mean to this generation?
You gain prestige on “Twitter” by how many people are following you, and your sphere of learning comes from how many people you are following. Linking with one another is crucial in this Twitter age. You link the stories that you have read, the cites that have caught your eye, the Influential quotes that you have read to your “friends”, spreading or broadcasting the message you “liked” or felt important.
The church has also embraced the “Twitter” mentality because the number of followers that attend their services determine the influence of the church. They talk of breaking the 100 attendance barrier, 250 barrier, 500 barrier, 1,000 barrier etc. just like today’s generation speaks of the number of followers they have following them on Twitter. As I heard one pastor say when explaining his church growth, “Numbers don’t matter, BUT…..”
Ironically, thousands followed Jesus to remote areas to be taught, masses came with the sick to be healed, yet Jesus most effective ministry was directed not toward the thousands, but the twelve! He focused on only twelve to be the foundation of this new kingdom that he was establishing.
Unlike Facebook where you acquire numbers of “friends”, some you label “bf” for “best friends”, in order to talk and network socially, Jesus focused on a few, investing his earthly time in them, intimately sharing and walking with them through their journeys, preparing them for His departure, equipping and empowering them for the Great Commission. Social networking does exactly as it names implies: networks socially. Some relationships may be built on a superficial level, but they are still on a social level. It is the beginning of dialoguing, the establishing and reestablishing of contacts, the accepting of one another on an equal horizontal plane as peers. Today’s churches need to begin to communicate amongst themselves on this level breaking the sectarian spirit that has divided the church for centuries. But it cannot develop deep relationships, nor mature the saints, nor bring unity in faith through these means. It needs to invest in deeper relationships.
Jesus did not empty his address book, or Twitter followers, nor calling all his Facebook friends to acquire numbers to gain influence; He concentrated on a few, just twelve. If the church is to “equip the saints for service” it has to learn how to get a few and concentrate on their development and maturity in Christ. The few will multiply causing not only the numbers they dreamed about earlier, but will also develop quality people, maturing in the image of Christ while bringing unity to the body of Christ who will be tremendously effective.
How deep does the church really want relationships to be amongst the brethren? Do we want to remain on the “social” networking level, or do we want to dig deeper? What will developing a deep relationship with someone cost us? (“The laying down of your life for your brethren.” IJohn 3:16) Jesus was willing to count that cost, are we as his followers?