I really love this graphic to your right.
A couple questions came into my mind immediately when I saw it. “Why is this inspirational?” and “If it is inspirational, why is this mindset so rare in the realm of Christian discipleship?” (and has been for a while)
It shouldn’t be rare. Jesus was unapologetic and forthright. He watched people walk away because he was so candid about what it would mean to follow him.
He said there is a easy / broad way and a hard / narrow way. He said, “to follow me is to go the hard / narrow way. To follow him you deny yourself, to follow him is to take up your cross, which means leaning into discomfort rather than leaning away from it, it means taking risks, it means going against your natural instincts and loving your enemy, going the second mile in service to people who have been an enemy to you, it means living like no one else lives, and dying to self daily, it means, committing yourself to Kingdom and not building a kingdom for self, it means being willing to be considered a fool in the eyes of the world, it means trusting that God can do more through you than you ever imagined if you will put yourself in his hand….
Jesus didn’t lower the bar, because to lower the bar would make him look less worthy than he is. Yes, people said, “No.” But the one’s who said, “Yes”, knew what and who they were saying yes to.
Our family has sports out the wazzoo. I got a “little” monster who will have countless practices, and games, and meets, and tournaments for the next 6 years, in as many as four different sports. So I’m not on the outside looking in, I’m in it with Christian parents who have kids who love and are good at sports.
So as a student pastor for over 25 years and a fanatical sports dad, as someone who lives in both worlds (sports and church) … I can say without fear of overstatement, that there are, all too often, two different standards for athletics and discipleship. I could write a book (that’s an overstatement) of examples on the disparity of rational for sports vs. spiritual opportunities. I’m not, cause I don’t want to make too many people mad at me. But I can say, that once you see it, you can’t unsee it.
I wonder if many of the dechurched millennials and GenZ people walked away, NOT because the bar of discipleship was too high, but because it was uninspiringly low.
It’s possible that many dechurched Millennials and GenZ did not find Jesus worthy of centering their lives around… But it’s also possible, that they were never expected or challenged to.