The Jesus Model

 In Discipleship

The Jesus Model: Invitation & Challenge

The Jesus Model for true discipleship is that he “invited” the Twelve to be in his life in a close mentoring/discipling relationship. The effect of this highest level of “invitation” is that it produced a high level of “challenge” to change and be accountable to change toward Christ’s kingdom values and living. The disciples were constantly challenged under the watchful eye of Jesus to change their worldview way of thinking (repent), and he trained them to think according to his kingdom ways as their King.

True conversion from one worldview to the “other-worldly” heavenly view can come about only by a discipleship method that Christ demonstrated and put into play. When his disciples thought “promotion” of the greatest among them to sit beside Jesus, he taught “demotion” to that of a servant among them which would make them great. When the disciples thought “get even” like the Pharisees taught (an eye for an eye) Jesus taught “forgive” and let it go.

Jesus placed the disciples near himself to observe that he actually lived before them what he taught them to do. They were close to their mentor and remained close to each other to experience the change to an “other-worldly” model and example of living in the king’s domain as his citizens representing his kingdom laws, principles, and values between God and man and citizen to citizen.

There are four quadrants in the church today (see chart below).

The Sunday Event quadrant (upper left) is the “Chaplaincy Quadrant” of a corporate gathering of many to receive teaching, worship God, and say “hello” to each other. It is a high invitation to attend but lacks challenge through a discipling experience. It isn’t discipleship. It’s merely a door that could lead to discipleship. It’s mostly made up of an audience of consumers in a “client/provider relationship” who aren’t challenged to change or reproduce. The message might challenge them, but they can walk out, unchanged, and no one would know. Thus, high invitation to attend, but low challenge to change without the accountability found in a discipleship group. It is a “cozy culture” quadrant of church life. An important quadrant, yes. Biblical to have corporate meetings, yes. But it doesn’t create a true discipleship experience according to the model of Jesus.

The lower left quadrant is the “Indifferent Quadrant” made up of other group settings that provide closer community experiences through life groups, Bible classes, midweek services, short-span Bible studies, youth groups, etc. It’s a low invitation (attend or not) scenario, however, because there’s no commitment level to an ongoing invested mentor/disciple relationship. And it is a low challenge (attend or not) scenario for the same reason in that there’s no mentor to challenge personal behavior and conversion toward walking and living out kingdom values on a personal level. As in the Sunday service event, no one intimately knows the people attending, their struggles, or their challenges, and can be just as easily overlooked or be detached from one another on a surface level and never be “in” someone’s life enough to help disciple them. This is a “lethargic culture” quadrant given there’s no invitation to enter into a mentoring/mentee relationship. Nor is there much effort to invest in someone’s life or have the permission to speak directly into someone’s life to their wrong behavior or worldviews like Christ was able to do to those who “wanted” him to challenge them, painful as that might have been to their carnal natures. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend (mentor).” The other groups again are important but do not create a discipleship experience that makes and reproduces disciples according to the Jesus Model.

The lower right quadrant is the “Servant Quadrant” made up mostly of staff members of a church, and those who volunteer to serve or lead in various departments and functions of the church. This is the quadrant of people who exist primarily to administrate the organization, running the church programs and/or being the behind the scenes support for what happens at the event of a Sunday morning service. These folks receive a “high challenge” from the church to serve the church and all its activities (within and without through outreach events). But it’s a low challenge culture in that they experience the pastors and leaders more as managers or bosses, rather than in a mentor/mentee relationship. Much energy is poured out by these people in this quadrant, but it is a “stressful culture” due to them being in the smallest percent level of participation from the population at large, with the highest demand of responsibility to carry the load others let them do. They give out, but nothing is poured back into them relationally, and so they burn out, feeling undervalued, under-appreciated and stressed out by the demands of their job. It has the highest rate of turn-over in church life. Again, an important and necessary part of the church many are called to, but it isn’t a mentor/mentee relationship as it happens in the Jesus Model of discipleship.

Finally, the last quadrant, which few churches have, is the “Discipling Quadrant.” It is an “empowered culture” because it’s made up of discipleship groups that have a mentor/mentee relationship, and an intimate, accountable relationship with three others. Thus, the healthy balance of high invitation and high challenge which causes advanced and accelerated growth in the disciple. They become “producers” of other disciples rather than merely “consumers” as attendees who spectate but don’t change or grow closer to Jesus. This upper right quadrant is the Jesus Model. It is how he laid the groundwork for advancing his kingdom through the strategic method of radically investing in the lives of a few to make them “other-worldly” and thus world-changers wherever they went.

Until the church gets a hold of this understanding that making disciples isn’t a spectator’s sport, cozy, easy, or about being in the limelight, we’ll not see the best method of evangelism on the planet is through discipleship.

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