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Josh Hunt
Learn it.

Live it.

Teach it.

Love it.

On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy changed the trajectory of the space race with these historic words:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

On August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. changed our world with a dream for a better one:

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

Now, let me ask you a question about both of these leaders. Did John Kennedy lead America to win the race to the moon? Did Martin Luther King, Jr. lead America into a more civil era?

No. In both these cases the leaders did not lead--not in the normal sense of the word of guiding and directing these dreams into reality. Both were killed prematurely. But in a profound sense they lead in that they planted in our culture what Seth Godin calls an Ideavirus.

An ideavirus is a compelling, though simple, idea. It is a thought that you can't get out of your head. It is an idea that you can never quite get rid of and that you intend to infect others with that you talk to, who, in turn, infect others.

I am infected with such an idea. It is simple; we can reduce it to one sentence:

We can take America for God by giving the ministry to laymen who are using their gifts to grow their groups to double their classes every two years or less.

In fact, it can be reduced to one word:

DOUBLE

Doubling groups is what all doubling churches, regardless of philosophy of ministry, have in common. Whether they are purpose-driven, or never heard of a purpose; whether they are seeker-driven or seeker hostile; whether they are charismatic or anti-charismatic; whether they do visitation or hate visitation, the thing that all doubling churches have in common is they all have doubling groups.

You double a church by doubling the number of groups, not by doubling the size of each group. All doubling churches are alike at the cell level: they are all about doubling groups. They may look like different animals, but at the cell level, they are largely the same.

If we can perfect the skill of doubling a group every two years or less, you couldn't build buildings fast enough to contain the growth. A group of 10 that doubles every 18 months will reach 1000 in 10 years.

Are you infected yet?

I can't quit thinking about it. I constantly find myself thinking, "If only we could effectively teach laymen to double groups, we will see the advancement of the kingdom as we have only imagined."

The idea is especially compelling to me because it is so obviously possible. Doubling a class every two years or less translates into going from 10 to 14 in the first year (40% annual growth). I have never met a teacher anywhere that doesn't think they can grow a class from 10 to 14 in a year. Yet, if we can do that, it will result in amazing, unprecedented growth.

A group of 20 that doubles every 2 years will reach 1000 in 10 years. That is why Andy Stanley is betting the farm on doubling groups.

How big would your church be in ten years if every group doubled every two years or less? In rough terms, put two zeros behind your existing attendance. A church of 100 would grow to 10,000 if every group doubled every 18 months.

Are you infected yet?

You say, well, that isn't realistic; it just can't happen. It can happen and is happening. About 20% of our churches in North America are growing, many of them growing rapidly. And, where you see a doubling church, you see doubling groups.

In the fastest growing church in the world, they grew from 70 groups to 23,000 groups in about a decade. In China the entire church is doubling every 10 years through groups that are doubling. There are between 60 and 100 million believers in China.

Are you infected yet?

How do you double a group? Well, it isn't rocket science. You can do it through half-way decent teaching and by inviting every member and every prospect to every fellowship every month.

If so, I want to suggest three things you can do to spread the ideavirus about doubling.

Learn it

The process of doubling a class every two years or less is not complicated, but it does take some learning. I have a book, video and audio files to help you.

The best way to learn it is to teach it. I want to invite you to teach the teachers in your church to double this next year. They will benefit, and you will as well.

Ultimately, you learn by doing. Every plan, including mine, needs to be adjusted to your personality and situation. You learn by doing.

Live it

I often have ministers say to me, "I know your plan can work, if my people will work it; I just can't get them to work the plan."

I always have the same question: How are you doing?

The leader must embody the vision. If you believe we can double the Capital-C church by helping small groups to double every two years or less, you must lead by example. You cannot lead people to do what you have not done yourself. Dive into a Sunday School class. Get involved. Plan some parties. Invite some prospects. Double your class. Live it.

Teach it

If the Lord continues to bless, I will do about 120 conferences this year in Australia and America and will train about 10,000 Sunday School teachers. I will log about 100,000 air miles and will speak for hundreds of hours.

But all that is a drop in the bucket. It is like trying to empty the Pacific Ocean with tea cups. Tea cups. I need your help. I need you to teach groups to double.

Teach it to your own people. Do a class in your church to your teachers.

Teach it to a church in your area. Network with your Association or State Convention.

Conduct seminars on how to double a class in two years or less.

Love it

I love Sunday School. I love the laughter; I love the tears. I love the presentation. I love the preparation. I love the parties. I love the relationships. I love seeing the church lived out on a micro-church level.

I want you to love it too. I want you to get infected with what can happen as we give the ministry to laymen who are using their gifts to grow their groups to double their classes every two years or less.

Are you infected yet?