The following content is an excerpt from the eBook Fill Your Seats. Download your free digital version in your favorite format here.
Take a look at how Jesus engaged men to become His disciples and ultimately the first disciple makers. As I read the New Testament, I see two keys to how Jesus drew people to himself:
Jesus had a good reputation in general. We know He “grew in wisdom and stature and in favor or God and man” (Luke 2:52). We know He grew up in a community and worked with Joseph as a carpenter. He wasn’t attached to a rabbi as was common practice in that day; instead, He was a workingman and probably friends with some of those He called to be His disciples.
He was respected in the church and in the community. As early as twelve years old, He was already a student of the Scriptures, amazing older people with His wisdom and insight. Ultimately, Jesus was ascribed “rabbi-ship” by those who knew Him, listened to His words, and watched His life. He was anything but a self-righteous know-it-all. The only time He described himself, He said, “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29).
Jesus was unique because of these two things.
He wasn’t a part of the traditional religious establishment. At the age of twelve, a boy would (hopefully) be chosen to attach to a rabbi and become that rabbi’s disciple. If he wasn’t chosen, he followed His father into his trade. Since Jesus was a carpenter, we can only assume He wasn’t chosen, or He decided to be a free-agent rabbi to follow His unique calling. We don’t know. But we do know He had openness to the “regular people”—those whom the religious establishment spurned.
This comes from the free eBook Fill Your Seats, which you can download here.
Jesus’ behavior was attractive. He was brilliant in His knowledge of the Word, but He was also ascribed favor by the people inside and outside His community. These two things help explain why people were interested in following Him. It wasn’t just the spectacle; it was also the way of life He was teaching and modeling.
Ultimately, people are drawn to people, not programs. The disciples were drawn to Jesus himself more than His teaching.
The best way to draw good people is with good people.
If you are trying to fill the seats of your church with all-in Jesus followers who have an interest in making disciples, start by highlighting and elevating those who are already there. Get them involved and let people know about it.
When I help churches start mentoring groups (just another term for discipleship, which we’ll get to in the next chapter), I suggest they create mentor bios and email them to potential mentees. Why not let them see who they will be walking with in addition to the what they’ll be learning and doing? Don’t just announce the program, highlight the people who’ll be leading them through it. And best of all, publish their stories. . . how the program they’re being invited into changed their lives!
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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