INTERVIEWER: Your name, sir?
INTERVIEWER: Your full name?
JESUS: Jesus of Nazareth.
INTERVIEWER: Jesus F. Nazareth. All right Mr. Nazareth. Tell me, why do you want to work at First Church?
JESUS: I’m here to proclaim the good news to the poor, freedom for the captive and sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
INTERVIEWER: Well, that’s a rather ambitious agenda. But at First Church we like employees who think big! So how to you plan to accomplish these lofty goals?
JESUS: I’ll recruit a dozen men and lead them through a series of challenges over the course of three years. I’ll show them how to minister to others. I’ll test them at every turn, to see whether they have true faith.
INTERVIEWER: That’s it?
INTERVIEWER: And then what?
JESUS: They’ll change the world.
INTERVIEWER: I’m sorry Mr. Nazareth, but I’m having a hard time seeing where that kind of ministry fits into our church’s strategic plan.
JESUS: Strategic plan?
INTERVIEWER: First Church adopted a strategic plan 2 years ago. We’re targeting young families with children as a key growth demographic. Parents and kids are under such pressures today and we want to help them be healthier.
JESUS: An admirable goal. How do you hope to achieve it?
INTERVIEWER: We’re rapidly expanding our offerings for children. We’ve hired 2 new youth staff and recently broken ground on a new youth building.
JESUS: Why are you doing this?
INTERVIEWER: Mr. Nazareth, don’t be naïve. If we don’t offer quality children’s and youth programs, women will choose another church. As you know, women are the religious decision makers in the home. And if we lose women we also lose our volunteer base.
JESUS: What about your men? Are they being actively discipled?
INTERVIEWER: We have a men’s ministry. They meet for a monthly pancake breakfast in the church basement.
JESUS: That’s not what I asked.
INTERVIEWER: Mr. Nazareth, I believe I’m conducting the interview here. Now let’s say we hired you to challenge 12 men for a few years. What about all the other men? Won’t they feel left out?
JESUS: Some will.
INTERVIEWER: You see, that just won’t fly around here. Our goal is to reach as many people as possible. Our slogan is, “There’s a place for you at First Church.” We don’t exclude anyone – and we don’t put any limits on God.
JESUS: If you never single a man out and call him to greatness, he will never become great.
INTERVIEWER: Excuse me?
JESUS: I tell you the truth: every man secretly dreams of being called into an elite group and molded into something extraordinary. That’s what I intend to do with a limited number of men.
INTERVIEWER: Elite group? You make it sound like the Navy Seals. What if your challenges are so tough that men drop out of your group? Won’t these men feel alienated from our church? They might go around and spread lies about us, accuse us of being a cult, that sort of thing.
JESUS: Many are called but few are chosen. One cannot be faithful to God’s call without incurring criticism. Yet I tell you the truth: if you call and train a handful of faithful men you can change the world. In a generation, you will have the healthy families you seek.
INTERVIEWER: Mr. Nazareth, we are totally down with your good news to the poor message, but I can’t see how you get from A to B. How does working with one small group of men result in the outcomes you’ve described? How can we lavish limited church resources on such a tiny number of members, who quite frankly, being men, just don’t offer the R.O.I.?
JESUS: As these men change, the church will change, and your city will change. And at the risk of appealing to your flesh, your church will double in size over the next five years if you do the things I’ve told you.
INTERVIEWER: Well, Mr. Nazareth, I need to be at a planning meeting for the upcoming youth retreat in a few minutes. It’s been very nice to meet you and we’ll be in touch. [REACHES OUT TO SHAKE HANDS] Ooooh, that’s a wicked scar. How did you get that?
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