Create Discipleship Exclusivity

The following content is an excerpt from the eBook Fill Your Seats. Download your free digital version in your favorite format here.

NASA recently picked twelve new astronauts—out of 18,000 applications.


Because being chosen by our country to go into outer space is an honor! Even though it’s risky business, it requires you to work your butt off and be away from your family for months at a time. On top of that, few people will ever know your accomplishment (unless you die in the process!). Lots of people aspire to be astronauts, but it’s an exclusive industry.

Want to be a Navy Seal? The U.S. Navy attracts 40,000 applicants each year. Only 6 percent meet their basic qualifications. Of those who apply, only 1,000 make it to Navy Seal training, and only 250 graduate from Seal training. Because there are only 2,000 active Navy Seals in the world at any given point, being a Navy Seal means something. They matter to each other and to our country.

This comes from the free eBook Fill Your Seats, which you can download here.

In contrast, Christians make their disciple-making processes available to everyone. We set the bar low with things like, “just come,” “there’s room for you,” “it’s free,” and “hope you can make it!” There’s no requirement to do homework, at least not one that’s enforced or means anything, and there’s no consequence for not showing up. We cast a vision, lay out a schedule and a curriculum, and hope for the best.

But here’s a principle to remember:

What requires nothing is worth nothing.

Jesus didn’t do it that way. He didn’t put anything in the synagogue bulletin or make an impassioned plea from the pulpit. Jesus handpicked those He was going to pour into intentionally. He didn’t pick everybody; He chose a few—twelve.

It’s important to launch (or re-launch) disciple making with a handpicked few. These people’s lives should scream leadership potential. Even if it’s only a handful of people, you’ll go further and faster with these committed, all-in disciple makers than with hundreds of people who answer a “cattle call” to attend a discipling class.

Am I saying to turn away people who are interested?

No, but I am saying they can wait. If you’re not 100 percent sure they’re ready to be a discipler of disciples, maybe they shouldn’t be mentored toward that role until later. The answer doesn’t have to be “yes” or “no.” Sometimes “wait” is the best answer for the time being. And having people on a waiting list creates exclusivity and buzz around what you’re doing. It takes courage and discipline. Jesus modeled this when He sent the rich young ruler away. He didn’t tell the guy “yes”—and He didn’t tell him “no.” He sent him away with a few things to take care of before he’d be ready. Sometimes, with some people, that’s a good option for us, too.


Written by Regi Campbell

Regi Campbell grew up in a small-town church. He’s belonged to congregations in multiple cities and gotten to know a quite a few pastors and churches. For the past twenty-three years, he’s been a part of one of America’s largest churches, Andy Stanley’s North Point Community Church serving as an Elder twice and in other leadership roles. His first three books—About My Father’s Business, Mentor Like Jesus, and What Radical Husbands Do—speak to business people, mature men, and husbands respectively. Campbell now speaks to Senior Pastors, Staff Pastors, and leaders in the local church, sharing what he’s learned about creating interest in discipleship and disciple making.

Regi is the Founder and Chairman of Radical Mentoring, a nonprofit focused on equipping and encouraging churches to build disciples and disciple makers through intentional men’s small group mentoring. Regi believes the future of the local church is intimately connected to the development of strong Jesus-following lay leaders who will lead their wives, children, businesses, neighborhoods, and churches with God at the center.

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