A Webinar may be better than a Seminar

I start my Double seminars these days this way:

"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 three reasons:

  • 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 www.joshhunt.com/learning.htm

If you know a quick and cheap way to do web meetings, email me at josh@joshhunt.com

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 in.

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 www.joshhunt.com/learning.htm

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 excuses.

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 every week

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 www.joshhunt.com/learning.htm

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 prospect?
  • When is the next fellowship?
  • Who are you training to say 2 Timothy 2.2 to?
  • When do you think you might be ready to birth a group?
  • Do you or your group have any special needs?
  • 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:

www.joshhunt.com/learning.htm

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.