Jesus was very successful at change … We can learn from Him.

Jesus was very successful at change:

Let us turn now to the story. A child is born in an obscure village. He is brought up in another obscure village. He works in a carpenter shop until he is thirty, and then for three brief years is an itinerant preacher, proclaiming a message and living a life. He never writes a book. He never holds an office. He never raises an army. He never has a family of his own. He never owns a home. He never goes to college. He never travels two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He gathers a little group of friends about him and teaches them his way of life.

While still a young man the tide of popular feeling turns against him. The band offollowers forsakes him. One denies him; another betrays him. He is turned over to hisenemies. He goes through the mockery of a trial; he is nailed on a cross between two thieves, and when dead is laid in a borrowed grave by the kindness of a friend. Those are the facts of his human life.

He rises from the dead. Today we look back across nineteen hundred years and ask, What kind of a trail has he left across the centuries? When we try to sum up his influence, all the armies that ever marched, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned are absolutely picayune in their influence on mankind compared with that of this one solitary life . . .

            He has changed the moral climate of the world, and he is changing it now, and will continue to do so until the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ. I ask you to pause a moment and think of this thing which Christians believe. We are talking about great adventures. I remind you that there must be a great adventure in faith before there can be a great adventure in action. No man has ever done a great thing until he has first believed a great thing.[1]

            Jesus was very successful at change. We are less successful. We can learn from Him. We invite you to join us in a great adventure in faith. We do not deploy principles of organizational change to encourage churches to adopt certain methods of evangelism; lack of good methods is not the problem. The innovation that is needed in churches today is far more elementary yet entirely sufficient: Jesus is Lord. How can we overcome resistance to this innovation?





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]James Allan Francis, The Real Jesus and Other Sermons (Philadelphia, PA: Judson Press, 1926), 123-124. Text used is quoted from San Joaquin Valley Information Service, ‘One Solitary Life’ Authorship, under (accessed June 15, 2007).

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