NT Wright, one of the world's leading New Testament scholars,...
As a fresh set of candidates battle for Sir Alan's approval in The Apprentice this autumn, Justin Brierley reflects on how Jesus would have fared.
1. Jesus was a bad project manager
If Jesus was in the boardroom with Lord Sugar he would face some serious questions about his management style. What were his goals? Where was his strategy? What were the requirements of signing up to his mission? You could never get a straight answer out of him.
To the morally obedient rich young ruler he asked for an impossible level of commitment: 'sell everything you have'. Whereas prostitutes and reprobates seemed to get a free pass. When his team tried to establish a system of command he told them that 'the first shall be last'. What kind of results incentive was that? No wonder many ended up turning away.
2. Jesus lost control of his team
By the end of his mission his team had deserted him and his treasurer had sold him out entirely. Even his right hand man Peter disowned him. Where was the strategy for keeping key personnel motivated and focused? Even his family members lost confidence in his vision.
Then, at the moment when he could have saved his skin in the boardroom, he didn't even choose to take anyone back in with him to cast the blame on. He faced his final judgement alone.
3. Jesus was terrible at marketing
Every team leader needs to make sure their marketing strategy sells them well. But Jesus didn't seem to grasp the importance of this. When he healed people, instead of grabbing the PR opportunity, he seemed more likely to tell the recipients not to tell anyone about it.
Yes, there was some good word-of-mouth stuff going on. But when it came to delivering big events, basics were often overlooked. Like how to feed over 5000 people on a hill side. You won't see punters returning if the catering hasn't been thought about.
4. Jesus didn't make a profit
Jesus seemed to squander opportunities to make decent money from his mission. Given the crowds he pulled in, it wouldn't have been difficult to leverage some financial gains. Yet he didn't even pass round a collection plate. When he sent his team out in pairs on assignment he told them to not even take a wallet with them but instead rely on the charity of strangers.
In fact his grasp of sound financial principles was generally terrible. Praising a poor widow's pitiful offering over a major donor's contribution. Allowing a supporter to waste an entire jar of costly perfume on his feet. And who plans their tax commitments around finding change in a fish's mouth?
5. Jesus failed the task he was set
This is surely the greatest indictment Lord Sugar would have of Jesus' performance. His team's expectations had been so high. Here was the long expected leader who would free them from the tyranny of Roman rule. And yet in the very week his popularity was at its zenith, he threw it all away.
It was inevitable really. He kept upsetting the religious stakeholders when a power-sharing deal would have made much more sense. Yet he refused to rally the local zealots for a military uprising, claiming that his Kingdom lay somewhere else. In a dog-eat-dog world where money speaks, was it any surprise that Jesus ended up beaten and crucified by the competition?
There have been rumours that this wasn't the end of the story, and in true reality TV show style, there's a final twist. But on a simple reading of the facts, there's no doubt: Lord Sugar would fire Jesus. After all, business is business.
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