Focusing On The Few

It all started by Jesus calling a few men to follow him. This revealed immediately the direction His evangelistic strategy would take. His concern was not for programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow. Remarkable as it may seem, Jesus started to gather these men before He ever organized an evangelistic campaign or even preached a sermon in public. Men were to be His method of winning the world to God.
— Robert E. Coleman

A couple of years ago, we were meeting with some young men at our offices.  They were there for a marketing related project, but clearly trying to walk the missional road more than a path to worldly success.  Before they left they slid a book, “The Master Plan for Evangelism“, across the table.  You could tell that it was a pearl of great price for them.

After 30 years on this journey, I have become jaded about many things; the political system, the church, faith-based leaders, and even the latest and greatest book about a new evangelistic method.  While I completely trusted the sincerity of these guys, I had a sort of “good for you” but “not for me” response in my heart.  I put it in the stack of books that I intend to read when I get the time (that I likely never will).  Meaning… it wasn’t going to get read.

Last week I was cleaning a pile of stuff of the dining room table and I saw another copy of that book mixed in with the crayolas and coloring books.  One of the other “elders” of our home church dropped it by for a study we were doing.  Now, I didn’t really have a choice.  Sunday night, we plowed through chapter one.

Coleman makes a case for evangelism based wholly on what Jesus did.  He doesn’t do much referencing of the Law.  Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law and he was here to reconcile mankind to their Father… to reestablish sonship and advance the Kingdom.  His incontrovertible plan can be summed up in some of the first chapter sub-headings:

  • Men Were His Method
  • Men Willing to Learn
  • Concentrated on a Few

It reminds me of the 1980 hockey team.  To turn the tide and produce maybe the most unlikely upset in sports history, something incredibly unorthodox was required.  Coach Herb Brooks defied the U.S. Olympic Committee and virtually all conventional wisdom.  He didn’t choose many of the superstars of the sport, but the essential building blocks with the ability to be conformed to a system he knew would win.  And he did.

Jesus intended something unconventional as well.  Rather than using an established model to raise a multitude, He went a different way.  Rather than utilizing all the likely players of his day, He focused on a few un-likelies.  He had a clear plan and laser focus.

You can do many things, but invest in only a few.

You can know many people, but invest in only a few.

If you want to change the world you need a plan.  No better place to get a plan than the Master.  Want to accomplish big things?  Focus on a few… the right few.

  • Who are you being mentored by?
  • Who are you mentoring?
  • Does your leadership focus on a few or the multitude?
  • How does the way you measure your success intend that result?