When we think about having a following or an audience, rarely do we think “I can just replicate Yashua’s success with building an audience.” And even those who do think this probably aren’t looking at the rules of engagement one must apply to do it “by the book”…
It’s one thing to look at his character, qualities, skills, and abilities and try to replicate success but it’s an entirely different thing to replicate his success without letting that success be the thing that destroys you.
Until recently, I rejected the mere idea of being “followed” or “a follower” because I didn’t understand how this could ever not result in destruction. To become as Paul having people worship you or to be the one unintentionally worshipping man or anything other than God just didn’t appeal to me.
That is, until I found myself at an impasse. For years I’ve been finding myself called to tell Yahuah’s people the things he inspired me to share and had no audience to tell it to.
So, I’ve finally come to terms with this fact… When the Most High calls you, it’s not for you its for other people. You have to be in front of those people to serve him by serving them. Hence, every calling requires an audience – someone who will benefit from what God has called you to do.
But now I needed to know how to avoid destruction as someone people follow in the literal sense – to see what I am doing and replicate it and to go where I go. This study is a result of my journey to understand two things…
- How can I serve my Yah-given purpose?
- How do I do it without falling prey to my own success?
Today, we’ll take an in-depth look at audience building and the rules of engagement as demonstrated by our Messiah. As we do, you’ll learn so much valuable secondary information that I hope will inspire you and be tools you use on your journey.
Yashua’s First Audience
Before he was even born, Yashua had an audience gathering and collaborating in preparation for the arrival of “an eternal king who would feed Judah Yahuah’s strength in the name of his God, Yahuah”. This is how the origin text in Micah 5:2 reads in Ancient Hebrew. Having studied and awaited this prophecy, the so-called “wise men” of Matthew 2:6 made the journey to Bethlehem to witness the coming of this king.
In this example, the audience was brought to Yashua by way of prophecy. Hold on to this idea…
You Need Someone to Lead the Way for You
Yup! You read it right… Yashua, the everlasting king required help building his audience. And we do too. Someone had to go before him (having already built an audience) and make his name known among the right people. He required an official introduction as the one prophecy foretold.
Yochenon (John) the Baptizer, also being led by prophecy (remember… hold on to this idea), made the way for his cousin, Yashua. He built an audience and prepared that audience for the one who, as he said, would come after him but was greater than him.
You Have to Experience the Transformation Your Audience Desires
Now here’s the thing you may not have noticed… In order for Yashua to be qualified to lead his audience to righteousness, he had to experience the same transformation they did.
Here’s what I mean… In Matthew 3, Yashua tells Yochanan that he has to be baptized in order to fulfill righteousness. His calling required that he go through the same transformation process his followers had to go through BEFORE he could fulfill righteousness.
Get Your Own House in Order FIRST
Notice that, after his baptism, Yashua still didn’t see himself as fit for his calling. He didn’t run out into the streets preaching, teaching, and healing. Instead, he went into the wilderness for 40 days and got his own spirit in check.
Here’s what his Matthew 4 encounter with Satan teach us.
- We can’t be motivated by our physical needs. Rather, we must be motivated by every word from the mouth of Yahuah.
- We can’t be motivated to prove our status or position as special to the Most High God. Instead, we have to always act in obedience to HIS WORD and WISDOM.
- We can’t be motivated by power or wealth. We have to rely solely on Our God, Yahuah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Yashua proves that our motivations must be pure and selfless. They cannot by any means be self-serving or reckless.
Before he sought an audience, he made sure that he could stand up to the temptations a following would most certainly present.
This wilderness experience was necessary for the Messiah to test his spirit but also to ensure that he was prepared to fulfill the prophecies and serve the people to whom he was sent, rather than ending up only serving himself.
Let Your Light Draw Them
Matthew 4:16 tells us that after Yashua put his motivations in check, people were drawn to his light. Your audience will sense your motivations. When they are pure, the right people will be attracted to you.
An Audience of Four
It’s easy to think of the astronomical number of people Yashua impacted over the past 2000 years; however, note that his initial audience was an audience of two, than of four.
His famous Sermon on the Mount, the longest of his documented speeches was before an audience of 4 and spanned 3 chapters long. (Matthew 5-7)
Until he began speaking in synagogues under his newfound authority and calling, he was speaking to Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John as if they were a multitude!
A Simple Message
Yashua’s first message maintained a super simple formula… What you need to do and why you need to do it.
This formula is the same one used by Yahuah throughout the Old Testament.
Here were his first two messages…
- What? Repent. Why? The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
- What? Follow me. Why? I will make you fishermen of men.
Before you’ve established a general audience (people to listen), keep it simple. Tell them what to do to solve their problem and why they need to solve it or the benefit of solving it.
Be Where They Are
It wasn’t until Yashua began speaking in synagogues and public places, and healing people that his audience grew to an innumerable multitude.
He had to put himself where the people who needed him was. He explains this principle best in Matthew 9 when he says (paraphrasing), healthy people don’t need doctors, the sick do.
You have to intentionally put yourself in the places where the people who has the condition you’re called to heal, repair, or manage can access you.
According to Matthew 4, this was the thing that expanded Yashua’s reach most profoundly. He went into spaces where people needed his brand of love – synagogues and public spaces where the downtrodden and untouchables hung out.
Put In the Work
This is the hard part for a lot of people. We all want the results Yashua had but few want to put in the work.
We romanticize Yashua’s journey as though it was a breeze for him. Here’s the Bible-honest-truth… It wasn’t easy, magical, or a miracle, it was hard work.
And his pure motivations shined through that hard work.
- He traveled the land by foot as prophecy dictated.
- He positioned himself in front of people who disagreed with his message.
- He gave time to people who were only watching for entertainment even when he knew it wouldn’t benefit most of them.
- He practiced restraint, only giving the people what they wanted even when they needed so much more – and he had so much more to give.
- He made his service about the ones served and about Yahuah, never about himself.
- He tailored his delivery to the audience. Never giving too much energy to vain causes (the spiritually blind and deaf) and always giving all of his energy to fruitful causes (people who demonstrated a genuine interest in learning and those with the faith necessary for healing).
- He lived as a vagrant.
- He lived among the poor, diseased, and every manner of sinner – loving them and helping them in spite of himself, his character standards, and his own condition of poverty.
- He depended on other people for food, room, and board – trusting that Yahuah would use those people to provide for him and his disciples.
- He ran and hid when his life was in danger.
- He was criticized and persecuted for his message, beliefs, and the company he kept.
- He regularly subjected himself to contagious disease.
- He prepared and delivered himself up to be killed, even though he was terrified and hoping Yahuah would change HIS mind.
My point is… He endured through hard work and hard times. Hence, he had to prepare himself for all the opportunities he would get to forfeit his calling in exchange for his own needs, or desires for status, wealth, and power.
You have to make a conscious decision to endure the work and trial that comes with growing and having an audience. But most importantly, you need to know that you are prepared to avoid Satan’s pitfalls that will come at you far more frequently and with higher stakes than it does when you’re just minding your own business.
The truth, according to scripture and experience, is that most people who follow someone do so for selfish reasons. They are the ones who are watching you for entertainment, to get healed or helped, or to try to replicate the success of a great leader for personal gain.
Nothings wrong with that. But what that means is that as a leader, you’re always giving and followers are always taking. The reward comes when some of the takers become givers.
No matter the reason, when you acquire an audience, understand this… 99% of your audience is there to take. 1% is there to give. The WORD requires that you give to 100% of them that Yahuah may reap the glory of that 1%.
So, there are few who are watching to learn, improve, and grow and to replicate your success so they can help others, but the few are worth it to Yahuah. They’re your Platinum Followers!
For Yashua, this group of platinum followers were his disciples. Not just the twelve but all the men and women who he spent time with, taught, ate with, and shared his fears and the deepest truths with – those who were in it to learn and who went out into the world to replicate his success for others’ benefit as it was prophesied (remember…. hold on to this).
Now, here are the rules of engagement Yashua demonstrated for his platinum followers.
- The first thing he told them was the rewards and outcomes of their calling. (3-12)
- Then he told them who they were (13-16)
- Then, why he came and the purpose for which he didn’t come. (17)
- He told them the price they’d pay for disobedience to the laws and the reward and punishment for teaching obedience or disobedience to the laws. (18-19)
- He gave them a benchmark of righteousness to which they would be held accountable. (20)
- He told them the deeper expectations of obedience for operating in their calling. (Mat 5:21-7:27)
The general audience got parables without explanations because they didn’t care to ask for explanations. They were there for entertainment or because they needed something from the Messiah and his disciples, not to learn and bring what they learned to others.
Nonetheless, healing was for everyone who believed that they could be healed, and it too brought glory to the Most High.
Speak in the Authority Given to You
Yashua didn’t quote scripture verbatim. He explained, elaborated, and told stories to simplify complex ideas. But he was direct and to the point when lessons were simple.
The point is, speaking in your authority means speaking the truth you know according to your own transformation unapologetically and without doubt, knowing when to say what, how much needs to be said, and when nothing needs to be said at all. (Matthew 5-7 & 7:28-27)
Take No Credit
You do all this hard work and endure all the trials and guess what… You can’t take credit for none of it!
In Matthew 8:4, Yashua demonstrates this truth when he healed the leper and gave him very specific instructions that would glorify Yahuah in the face of religious people and according to their doctrine and tradition with no mention of Yashua.
There’s so much to be gleaned from this interaction with the leper.
- It wasn’t about Yashua and it really isn’t about you or me.
- Your religion or religious beliefs don’t matter… It’s not about that either.
- It’s not about how they look, smell, act, who they sleep with, what drugs they take, the color of their skin, their history, origin, or ethnicity, their their sex or gender, and it doesn’t matter what disease they have or how they got it.
- It’s not even about the religion of the person you’re helping or what church they go to or don’t go to.
It’s all about giving Yahuah the glory – showing all people that HE lives, HE heals, and He loves.
When he sent the leper away, he told him to go give an offering according to the Law of Moses, a law that he himself did not observe or promote. Nonetheless, when the leper would give his offering according to religious custom, the religious Jews would recognize Yah’s power to heal was alive and well. It didn’t matter to Yashua how it happened, but that it happened… That Yahuah was glorified before man.
He also teaches us this in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-4) when he says (paraphrasing) do not do your alms before men that you may get your glory from men.
Don’t Hesitate to Speak Hard Truths
Yashua spoke a lot of hard truths and didn’t look around to see who was listening. When the Centurion went to him asking for him to heal his servant, he said (paraphrasing), I haven’t seen anyone in Israel demonstrate such faith. Non-Israelites like you will go to heaven and the children of the kingdom will be cast into outer darkness.
Here’s a Hebrew man saying this to a non-Hebrew man while surrounded by Hebrews.
Sometimes it just is what it is.
Be Real Upfront
In Matthew 8:20 and throughout scripture, Yashua sets a very realistic expectation for what its like to follow him. Here he says, I don’t even have a hole to live in. You’re still coming? You see him do the same thing later when the rich man wants to follow him and he tells him, you’ll have to become poor to follow me… You’re still coming?
Don’t sell people dreams. If you had to work for your transformation, they’ll have to work for theirs and while it will be easier with someone lighting the way, it won’t be easy. That’s just the nature of transformations – if they were easy, they wouldn’t be necessary.
As leaders, we have to allow those who follow to choose that path, not be tricked into it or walk into a rude awakening with rose colored glasses. Doing that would set them up for failure and you’d be acting outside of our calling. It’s also a signal that your motivations aren’t pure but self-serving – growing your audience is more important than serving your audience well.
Apply Yashua’s Audience Building Framework
Wewww… That was a lot.. But here’s what you absolutely need to know to begin Building Your Audience By the Book…
- Prophecy has to be your catalyst; thus, you become it’s catalyst. Pay close attention to how Yashua, Joseph, and others are choosing their moves according to prophecy. They are intentionally fulfilling prophecy because they are inspired by the same prophecy.
- In what prophecy are you operating?
- The Journey. What will the prophecy accomplish?
- The Reason. Why does it need to happen?
- The Reward. What benefits will it result in?
- What is your role in its fulfillment?
- The Journey. How are you fulfilling prophecy?
- The Reason. Why are you fulfilling prophecy?
- The Reward. What will in result in for you and those you serve?
- In what prophecy are you operating?
- Someone else must prepare the way for you.
- What opportunities have presented that will introduce you and your calling to the right audience?
- Who is your John the Baptist?
- You must experience the transformation that is specific to your audience before you can help them.
- In what way have you been transformed? That’s what you’re authorized to speak to.
- Your motivations must be pure.
- Are you capable of and willing to put your spiritual fulfillment ahead of your physical needs?
- Are you capable of and willing to act in obedience to the WORD and WISDOM, rather than to preserve or defend your own title or status?
- Are you capable and willing to rely solely on Yahuah rather than control, power, and wealth?
- When your intentions are pure, people will be drawn to your light.
- Start small with solicitation… Invite people to join you. For example, reach out to people who are doing the same thing in another context (i.e fishermen of men).
- But solicitation won’t grow your audience. Hard work will. Growth happens…
- By being in the places where your audience is
- By serving selflessly
- By putting in the work
- By going where prophecy dictates
- By giving people what they ask for, rather than what you think they need
- By tailoring what and how much you say according to the measure of fruitfulness.
- By walking in the authority given to you by Yahuah
- The Rules of Engagement are
- Keep your introductory message simple. (What to do? Why?)
- Never take credit
- Healing is for everyone who believes
- Parables are for those who aren’t there to learn
- Explanation and elaboration is for those who ask for it
- Always speak the truth even the hard ones
- Be direct in your general communications
- Set realistic expectations about the transformation journey upfront
- It’s never about you, your ideal, values, or beliefs but about the outcome – Glory to Yahuah.
Adapted from my TruthInAWord site.