“In military strategy, a choke point (or chokepoint) is a geographical feature on land such as a valley, defile or a bridge, or at sea such as a strait, which an armed force is forced to pass, sometimes on a substantially narrower front, and therefore greatly decreasing its combat power, in order to reach its objective. A choke point would allow a numerically inferior defending force to successfully prevent a larger opponent because the attacker would not be able to bring their superior numbers to bear.”
In the late summer of 480 BC, three hundred Spartan soldiers stood in the way of hundreds of thousands of Persians and the survival of Greece.
Thermopylae (otherwise known as “The Hot Gates“) was a small pass on the east side of Greece that had to be used by armies who chose to invade this part of the country.
The valiant Spartans knew that King Xerxes and his vast army had to pass through this narrow pass to get to the rest of Greece. And herein lay their advantage.
This passageway (that may have been 50 feet wide or less in parts) had a mountain on one side of it and the ocean on the other. As a result of this narrow pass, the Persian warriors lost their tactical advantage against the battle-hardened, highly-strategic, physically-superior Spartans.
Thermopylae was the chokepoint to the rest of Greece and, for three sword-swinging, spear-thrusting days, the Persians fought the Greeks and choked on their own blood.
Thousands upon thousands of Persians fell to Spartan steel over those 72 harrowing hours. Not until a Greek traitor supplied Xerxes with a secret path behind the Spartan lines did these powerful warriors become vulnerable. Finally, these 300 Spartans, led by their warrior-leader, King Leonidas, were slaughtered and the Persians invaded Greece.
But it was too late. In the midst of 300 deaths, one amazing legend had been born on that bloody, narrow battlefield. Inspired by stories of Spartan courage, the Greeks united and, eventually, turned back the Persians for good.
So what does this all have to do with discipleship making?
More than you might think.
And it all has to do with the underestimated chokepoint you must get through if you want to make disciples who make disciples.