I was scanning Twitter yesterday morning as I prepared to head off to St. Paul’s for the 11am service when I stopped my scan on this Tweet:
Preaching Luke 8 where Jesus ministry grows so large his own family can’t get an appt. Myth Jesus was more accessible than today’s pastor. [from @pastormark]
Now I, for one, would suggest it might be a tad dangerous to compare your ministry to that of Jesus, but since @pastormark opened the door, I think I may just step through it.
Let’s begin with the presenting 137 character symptom. Jesus’ mother and brothers “can’t get an appointment.” Actually, if you read some of the background in Mark 3, you’ll note that Mary and Jesus’ brothers thought he’d lost his mind and were attempting to take “charge of him.” But @pastormark appears to be responding to the criticism that people think Jesus “was more accessible than today’s pastor” and says that’s not true because Jesus ministry had grown “so large” not even his blood relatives could get near him. Therefore, since @pastormark has a big ministry like Jesus, people should not expect him to be accessible. Not even his mother and brothers. Even if they think he’s nuts.
If you big ministry guys are going to use Jesus as your model for ministry, I have a few questions. (Actually, I have lots of questions, but I’m only going to ask a few. Because I know how busy you are avoiding appointment requests from your mother and brothers.)
BUILDINGS: The first one would be around buildings. Jesus didn’t have one. Well. That’s actually not true. The Temple was his Father’s but he just didn’t use it. Why not? Why didn’t he just set up there and have the crowds come to him? Think of the ministry he could have built right there in the place of peace – Jerusalem. People would have come from miles around to hear him preach. Think of the healing services he could have led.
MULTI-SITE: And think of the multi-site opportunities. Now, I recognize the technology was not in place to project Jesus onto screens in synagogues throughout Israel but this was the Man who walked on water, God Incarnate. Nothing was too hard for him. But. If he wasn’t comfortable showing his power by doing that, he could have hired Scribes to write down his words and hired assistants to preach them in the other locations the next Sabbath or Wednesday night. So, why didn’t he?
MONEY: With his gifting, think of the kind of money he could have raised from his growing audience congregation. Tithes and offerings would have been HUGE, don’t you think? Especially with his healing gifts. But I can’t find anywhere in the New Testament where Jesus got into truly effective fund-raising. Why not?
MEDIA MINISTRY: Where are the people planning the events? Jesus arrives at the well in Samaria and only meets ONE WOMAN. What’s with that? Where was the advance team? Where are the marketing pros getting the Jesus message out in advance? Where’s the drama team preparing to illustrate the message? Where are the graphic folk making the story-telling banners? Nowhere to be found in the New Testament. Must be an oversight.
MUSIC MINISTRY: Where are his minstrels? The Temple was known for killer horn players, harpists, lutists and percussionists. But Jesus didn’t have any on his team? And even if he refused to use the Temple, the minstrels would have helped him draw a crowd as he wandered the highways and byways of the Middle East, right!? They could have set their Jesus-promoting lyrics to the latest rhythms and melodies of the current Roman hits. So, why no musos?
TRANSPORTATION: And what’s with the walking around? I realize limos, Land Cruisers and Lexus sedans were not available, but surely Jesus could have had a rather nice coach pulled by four white horses – perhaps with a tasteful, yet subtle, ministry logo on the side or where we’d hang a license plate. Heck, if today’s megachurch pastors can justify flying First-Class, why didn’t Jesus travel in the style appropriate to him? This is all so confusing.
CONFERENCES: I’ve searched the New Testament high and low and can’t find Jesus doing a single conference. Sure, it would seem he had a number of rather large unplanned events where thousands showed up, but by and large it seems he spent almost all of his time with a small group of people – pouring his life into theirs. And how did THAT work out for him? Think of what could have happened if he’d gathered all the rabbis together and spoke to them in one place. Just think of that!!
THE CROSS: Never mind.
So. Recognizing how busy most megachurch pastors are, I’ll humbly stop there. The rest of you might have some questions you want to add in the comments.
After the megachurch leaders are done with their mothers and brothers, perhaps they could drop by for a moment or two and explain things to us.
I wait with bated breathe.