Read any of the Gospels, and you can see that when Jesus started his ministry on earth, he gathered around him the simplest of people. It wasn’t just that they were sinners, it was that they were ordinary folk. Most would have been largely illiterate, and they were certainly not homogenous as a group.
So how did we make it all so complicated today? As Jesus tells us to scatter seed, we end up towing an oak tree behind us. Was it ever meant to be that complicated, such that many on the outside feel unable to participate on the inside because they don’t fit? Face it, the uneducated, the odd, those from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ (whom Jesus seemed to attract everywhere) will struggle to fit.
This makes reaching the lost very difficult, as our model emphasises so much ‘come and join us.’
It also makes church planting and disciple multiplication virtually impossible. The estimated average cost of a baptized believer in the West is close to $1.5m but less than $50 in regions where multiplication is happening rapidly. Is it any wonder?
There, believers are given responsibility the day they decide to follow Jesus and are taught that obedience to Him and His teachings are the key to following Him. Through simple methods and a model of obedience, they move out into the harvest immediately to find more lost people. Compare that to here, where it is unlikely you will be able to lead even a simple Bible Study (almost always with other believers) without having an approved Theology degree.
Yet for so long, we have come to accept the narrative as being the only way, without ever considering the absurdity of it. For our Faith to grow, our groups to multiply we must simplify our model down to the very basics. We must cast off all that hinders the spread of the Gospel, and stop being so elaborate, so elusive.