I start my
Double seminars these days this way:
A Webinar may be better than a Seminar
"My goal today is to infect you with what
Seth Godin has called an Ideavirus. An Ideavirus is an idea that
is so compelling, so intriguing, so infectious, that once it
gets in your brain, you just can't keep from thinking about it.
I have been infected with the Ideavirus for a long time and I
just can't quit thinking about it. I can summarize the Ideavirus
down to one word: double.
The double Ideavirus is interesting for
- It is possible: doubling a
class every two years or less translates into 40% growth,
or, it means the average size Sunday School class or home
group going from 10 to 14 in a year. I have never met a
Sunday School teacher that didn't think they could get that
done if they really wanted to. (I sometimes ask, "Could you
get it done if I offered you a million dollars to do
it?") Everyone could.
- It will result in unbelievable
growth. A group of ten that doubles every eighteen
months will reach a thousand in ten years.
- It is what God is up to. Henry
Blackaby taught us that if you want to follow God you need
to discover where God is at work and join Him. God is at
work. In the words of C.S. Lewis, "Aslan is on the prowl."
There is a world-wide movement of doubling groups that is
unprecedented in scale. Nothing like this has ever happened
before. I would invite you to join God in an explosive
movement of doubling groups. I don't lead this movement. In
fact, there is no one leader, and there is no one right type
of group. They are home groups and Sunday School style
groups and open groups and closed groups and house churches
and networked house churches and cell churches and
charismatic churches and charismatic-hating churches."
Thing is, I really am infected with this idea
about doubling. I think about it all the time. I think about new
ways that might work to spread the Ideavirus. Here is the latest one
I have been thinking about for the last couple of months:
long-distance learning. I woke up at six this morning mulling over
four reasons why I think this might be a good idea.
It allows anyone, anywhere, at various times
to attend a meeting.
I do over a hundred conferences a year, but
there are obviously a lot more places where I am not doing meetings
than places I am. Long distance learning allows for a small church
in rural Iowa to send a teacher to a training event, even though I
have never been to Iowa. This week doesn't work out? We can do it
next week, perhaps.
Technically, how does this work?
The possibilities are almost endless from a
simple conference call to more elaborate set-up with video
conference web-delivered PowerPoint and interactive components. Right now, I am wanting
to test the waters and see what level of interest is out there. if
you are interested in hearing more about long-distance learning
developments, add your name to the list at
If you know a quick and cheap way to do web
meetings, email me at
It allows for an idea to soak in slowly
I have been working for years to try to make
my seminar the best I can make it. I have fine-tuned, adjusted,
re-written, started over, added video, added this, taken out that. I
have presented the Double Seminar hundreds of times. (I will do
about 110 Seminars this year, about 90 of them are Double.) It
really is a reasonably good seminar.
Still, I have read the numbers. I know that
most people will forget 90% of what they hear at an evening seminar
by the time they eat breakfast the next morning. Billy Hanks used to
say, "Our problem is not dedication, but retention. We just forget."
Long-distance learning allows for an idea to
soak in slowly. Like a slow rain that refreshes the soil, long
distance learning can soak in over time.
I have done a lot of seminars, but I have done
a lot more teaching in on-going Sunday Schools, home groups, and
discipleship classes. I have seen it happen many times when people
get all fired up about something on one week. You ask them about the
next and they say, "Oh, yeah, I forgot, I need to. . ."
Long distance learning allows us to keep saying it until it soaks
Paul spoke of the need for this. He didn't
mind repeating himself. "Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!
It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and
it is a safeguard for you." Philip. 3:1 [NIV]
If you would like to find out more, sign up at
It allows for honest and thoughtful questions
I get asked two kinds of questions after
seminars. Many of them are just excuse questions. They are
"yeah-but" questions. They are the questions posed by the person who
really doesn't want to do anything about what was talked about
and thinks they have come up with a question that will stump me.
Well, indeed, I don't have all the answer. I just know that God is
up to something--pulling off a world-wide movement of doubling
groups. I want to be in on it. I want to find answers; not make
Many questions, however, are not like this at
all. They are thoughtful, serious, honest questions. They are
questions that, if answered, release the person to go and try to
double their group.
I sometimes wonder: how many serious questions
were out there that I didn't get to address? How many questions were out there that no one could address because the
question wasn't given voice?
Long distance learning allows everyone to ask
their questions. And it allows me to give my answer, but it also
allows the group to share their wisdom.
It allows everyone to hear the stories I hear
One of the reasons I am so deeply infected
with the Ideavirus of doubling groups is the feedback I hear every
week from people who attend my seminars.
- Last week in Indiana someone said to me,
"You know what you said tonight about giving Friday nights to
Jesus? That is how I got saved. This is my Sunday School teacher
and he had me in his home and did this and did that and a year
or so ago, I got saved. It happened exactly as you said."
- Another story from this last week, this
one from my host, Bob Billups of First Baptist Church, Denton.
He told me he persuaded one group to divide into three groups about a
year ago. All three groups have about as many as the original
group. That group has tripled in one year by growing and
dividing. I hear it all the time.
- "I didn't really think of this as an
official strategy, but as you were talking it hit me--this is
exactly how we grew this class from 10 to 30 in a little over a
year." I hear it all the time.
I hear it all the time, but not too many other
people get to. Through long-distance learning, everyone can share
their stories and everyone can hear one another's stories of how you
see doubling groups spreading the gospel.
If you are interested, sign up at
It allows for ongoing feedback,
problem-solving, cheerleading, celebration and accountability
Here is the real benefit. This is the dream.
Long distance learning has the potential of evolving into an
on-going group that could encourage one another, cheerlead one
another, celebrate with one another.
Imagine a group of Sunday School teachers who
know one another, love one another and get together every Thursday
night to discuss things like:
- What was your attendance this week
compared to a month ago?
- Did we have any visitors?
- Anyone hit four consecutive absences for
the first time?
- What was the main thing you tried to
teach your group?
- How did that go?
- When was the last fellowship?
- Did you invite every member and every
- When is the next fellowship?
- Who are you training to say 2 Timothy 2.2
- When do you think you might be ready to
birth a group?
- Do you or your group have any special
- How is your time alone with God going?
Obviously, every person would not discuss
every question every week. And, the group may not evolve into this.
My point is just that it has that possibility.
The truth is, there are all kinds of
possibilities. One possibility is that this idea will fail. Another
is that it will create an explosive movement of doubling
phone-groups of teachers who are doubling their classes. We will
never know until we try.
If this is the least bit interesting to you,
let me know by signing up at the following location:
You will hear from time to time about
developments on the long-distance learning front. You can get off
the list at any time at the same address.