Posted by: everynation | October 10, 2008

Discipleship and Volkswagen

by Joey Bonifacio

At the end of World War II defeated Germany was in shambles. The Allies (mainly Great Britain and the United States) were working hard to figure out what to do with some of Germany’s industries that needed serious rehabilitation. One of those companies was Volkswagen.

By 1948 Henry Ford II and some of Ford’s executives from all over Europe were debating on whether to take over Volkswagen’s factories. The conclusion was summarized in the words of Ernest Breech, then Chairman of Ford: “I don’t think what we are being offered here is worth a damn.”

As history would have it, Ford walked away and Volkswagen fell into the hands of a ragtag team of German businessmen. What no one foresaw was two decades later Volkswagen would sell more than 12 million units of the Beetle, many of which in the US and made it one of the most successful companies in Europe then.

Why did Ford walk away? Several reasons. Volkswagen was politically incorrect at the time, they were from a losing country and their bitter enemy. They weren’t shaped right, a beetle? The engine was in the wrong place – at the rear of the car. And a host of other reasons that just did not seem right.

This is where discipleship is relationship interfaces with this story. Often we walk away from ministry opportunities that could bring millions to Christ just because the things we see don’t look familiar or are up to our cultural, political or even religious upbringing. Sometimes we think there is only one way to do things.

What the executives for Ford failed to realize was that the Volkswagen was the dream of one of Europe’s greatest car designers – Ferdinand Porsche. After designing and building some of the fastest cars of his time he dreamed of building a small car for everyman – “the people’s car”. Everything in the Volkswagen was designed to do was just that. A car that could be produced cheaply and required less parts and did not need much maintenance.

As disciple makers we need to realize that God has designed the Gospel for all mankind. It’s not whether it is politically, culturally or economically correct and is not even about our religious preferences. All it needs is a ragtag team of men and women who passionately believe the original vision of its designer.

Rom. 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Joey Bonifacio — aka “The Wizard of Blog” — is the senior pastor of VCF-Fort Bonifacio in Manila, Philippine and the author of Discipleship is Relationship and Joey’s Prayer Site.



  1. great read thanks for writing pst Joey

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