Recruiting from the Fringes

J. Robert Clinton writes:

“Jesus recruited from the fringes, in terms of leaders who could be shaped, and not from the current religious leadership which had very fixed paradigms.”

This week I spent an evening at a large event that was realted to one of Southern California’s prominent mega-churches. Driving home in silence, I was sobered by the celebrity-satiated scene. Shallow …plastic …superficiality …all are words that seemed to describe the fare. Nothing really bold. Although his name was invoked, his attachment to this venue it was far from the Jesus I see in the context of 1st century Palestine.

That evening was a representation of a contemporary religious establishment in which there appears to be little spiritual authenticity, reality or power. The pool for potential leadership in such a context seems sorely lacking in genuine spiritual authority. It was sad. Very sad.

I have little hope that the leadership of the future will be able to percolate up through such a system. Consequently, we may need to look elsewhere for people who are dissatisfied with the establishment – “on the fringes.” Those are the men and women in whom we need to invest …those on the edge and those willing to go there! God has always used such individuals to shatter the status-quo and bring vitality and health to the Church in every generation.

“One of the most important lessons from history is that the renewal of church always comes from fringes, and we mean always.” – Hirsch and Frost in The Shaping of Things to Come, pg. 194.

2 Responses to “Recruiting from the Fringes”

  1. Geo Says:

    “Always?” I don’t think the apostle Paul was on the fringes Sam…but point well taken.

  2. Sam Says:


    Thanks for the comment. So good to know that such brillant apolgogists like you is dropping in on my blog.

    I think Hirsch and Frost’s comment could apply to Paul, depending of course on how we define the fringe and fringe of “what.” The whole nascent Christian movement was a fringe thing when compared to the Jewish religious establishemt.

    But I think the quote is more accurate and applicable when we look at the overall history of the church through its stages of expansion and decline, particularly as it has institutionalized over the centuries.

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