Today's definition of success is focused on outcomes and numbers; things that are easily measured by spreadsheets and calculations. The more people impacted, the better, no matter the cost.
In some regards that is true... Wouldn't it be great if everyone was healthy, and everyone knew the Jesus of the Bible? But to truly impact a person's life, you can't be focused on too many things or people, or you will completely miss the person for the sake of the cause. And if we think about it, isn't that what we want? True, deep, lasting impact? To know that we really made a difference in this life?
We can't be all things to all people and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can get on with our true calling in life. Jesus had 12 disciples. 12 people that he lived in community with day in and day out. 12 people that he poured his life and teachings into. 12 people that were then commissioned to go and do the same. What if instead of trying to help everyone, we focused on our 12 in a real sense of community? Authentic relationships that are more than surface deep. Relationships that truly understand and care for one another, encourage and sacrifice for each other.
I would argue that a model focused on our 12, those closest to us that we can impact the most, rather than anyone and everyone who comes our way, will in the end actually allow us to have a greater impact. As people around the world see the love of Christ lived out genuinely among his believers, they will want to be a part of it.
Who are your 12?
For more on the topic of discipleship, check out Would You Have Fired Judas? by Thomas Wheeler at www.theurbanoutreach.org.