In the gospel of Mark, Jesus redefines greatness. Not only by the way he lived his life but also in the way he taught his disciples. In Mark 9 Jesus discloses his upcoming death at the hands of the religious leaders in Jerusalem. Directly after this, Jesus’ disciples begin a conversation about who is the greatest among them. Wait, what?
And this isn’t the only time something like this happened. In Mark 10, Jesus foretells his death and immediately following, James’ and John’s mother asks if her sons could be given the places of honor in Jesus’ kingdom. Both of these happen in the same breath as Jesus is sharing about his death. It’s shocking, appalling, and disturbing. How could they be so insensitive and miss what Jesus is all about?
It’s easy to judge such dense people who still don’t grasp what it means to follow and serve Jesus. Until we take an honest look at our own hearts.
In Episode 45 of The Grind Podcast, Neil Cole said the one piece of advice he would give church planters is this: “We need to die to our platform dream.” Cole said that when most planters dream of starting a church they are seeing themselves on the platform at the center of a crowded room.
Just like the disciples, it’s easy to have the attitude of "What's in it for me?" Planters dream of the possibilities. “How will this expand my influence, highlight my preaching skills, and lead to more speaking engagements outside of my church, if not even a book deal?”
But planting a church is not the same as starting a worship service. As central as preaching may be, planting a church is more than the sermon. Cole said, “I was in a corner booth at Denny’s when I realized that my sermons would not spark the Third Great Awakening. So, I started giving 3 hours a week to my messages instead of 30. And they got better! Instead, I gave the majority of my time to making disciples.”
Unless planters have more of a passion for disciple-making than preaching, more and more platform dreamers will emerge. Dying to this platform dream might just be the catalyst for a true disciple-making and church planting movement. Without the death of self-centered dreams, it will be tough for new life to spring out of new plants. What dream is Jesus calling us to die to?
Interested in knowing more about what it would take to be a part of a disciple-making movement? Don’t miss the chance to hear from Neil Cole in Arkansas at his One Day conference on “Starting a Disciple-Making Movement.” More details and registration info is available here.