Happy New Year!
I love the new year!
What a great time to forget what is behind, strain toward what is ahead and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.
What a great time to learn from the past, reflect on the past, and let the past go. What a great time to dream great dreams, to set new goals and to get started anew on pursing the life God has called us to live.
So, let me ask you, what are you dreaming for God this year? What are you believing for God this year? Perhaps an example would help.
For me, my goal for 2008 is all about moving from doing conferences to starting doubling group movements.
I have learned a great deal in the last year about how ideas spread. The gist is that people are not motivated by people who stand and deliver talks as much as they are influenced by the behavior of the people in their reference group. This is why, by the way, that giving Friday nights to Jesus and inviting every member and every prospect to every fellowship is such a powerful thing.
I saw it happen this past Sunday. On December 22nd we had a Christmas party for our Sunday School class. My teacher, Richard King, invited every member and every prospect to the party. There were two new couples there. One of those couples was in class this past Sunday. I have seen it happen more times than I can count.
You surround your average pre-Christian with a half-dozen Christians who love God and love church, and read their Bibles and pray and serve and give and everything changes. People are profoundly influenced by people in their reference group.
This same principle has another application. It has to do with the idea of how the idea of doubling groups can be more than a seminar and more of a movement. Everything has to do with people seeing normal people using hospitality to double groups.
You surround your average teacher with half a dozen other teachers who are committed to doubling their groups and are using hospitality to double their groups and they will soon be committed to doubling their groups and using hospitality to grow their groups.
In 2008 I want to move from doing seminars to fanning the flames of a doubling group movement. I want to do it by talking less and finding doubling teachers to talk more. Here are some ways I press on toward that goal.
- I am bringing my video camera with me on conferences and using it to catch people doing something right. In some cases they talk to me afterwards about either 1) how they used hospitality to win people to Christ, or 2) how they doubled their class. I seek to get these testimonies on video. One of the reasons I believe so deeply in the idea of doubling groups is that I have heard hundreds of these testimonies over the years. In some cases people share with me casually after the conference. More and more I am asking hosts to set up some testimonies ahead of time to share publically.
- I post these testimonies online at http://sundayschool.ning.com/ I am just now posting half a dozen new ones. Check it out. I am hoping many of my hosts will pass along this site to their teachers so they can see for themselves that it really is possible to double a class.
- I have edited some of these testimonies into short clips that you can use to promote the dream of doubling groups. Again, the idea is not for me to talk about doubling groups, but for people to hear from normal Sunday School teachers that this really is possible. You can download these videos at http://www.joshhunt.com/downloads.htm If you would like to encourage your people to attend a conference in your area, this is a great way to do it.
- I am asking all my hosts to try to have some testimonies ready at our conferences. I will tape these testimonies and the cycle will continue.
- I am more and more aware that it is possible to double, but it will likely take more than one seminar to get there. More and more I want to partner with churches over the long haul to create a doubling group movement in your church. I have prepared a summary of ten conferences that are available. See http://www.joshhunt.com/overview.htm
If fanning the flames of a doubling groups movement is on your New Years resolution list, here are some ways I recommend you press toward the goal:
- Model it. One of the most common conversations I have with some of my conference attendees goes something like this. "I really believe in the idea of using hospitality to double groups like you say, but I just can't get my people to do it." My response is always the same. "How are you doing? Are you in a group that is doubling? Are you using hospitality to grow your group?" "Well, no, but I really wish my people would." It is not likely to happen. The leader must embody the vision. Lead by example. Truth is, leading by example is not enough. You must love it. You must be in a group that is doubling and love being in a group that is doubling. I am starting a new home group tomorrow night. Why? In part because I love groups. Your enthusiasm for groups is contagious. If you don't have enthusiasm for groups, that can be contagious too.
- Teach it through a variety of means. Bring your people to a live seminar. Host a live seminar. Buy the book for your people. Send them to some of my online resources. Burn CDs for them. Repetition is the mother of learning. Say it. Say it again. Let me say it. Read it. Show it on video. Repeat. I feel I do my best work in a church where the pastor says to me, "You are saying the same thing to my people that I have been trying for years to tell them; you just said it in a fresh way." In a church like that, we have some hope of creating a doubling group movement. In a church where they only hear it from me, it is not likely that we will see a doubling group movement.
- Reward it. Look for someone doing something right and reward it. Get a big spotlight and point it on them. Give them the microphone and let them tell their story. You define the win by what you reward. One way you can do this is through the testimonies mentioned above. If you have someone in your church that is getting it done, invite them to come share a testimony at one of my seminars. I do a hundred plus seminars a year and will likely be in your area. Bring one of your teachers that is getting it done and lets give them the microphone. It is a powerful way to say to them that they are doing something significant. You might bring along one or two others who are close to getting it.
The daily prayer of my heart is that God will bring a doubling group movement in our land. I want to invite you to join me in prayer toward that end. I want to co-labor with you toward that end. In doing so, we hold to two truths:
- Without Christ, I can do nothing (John 15). It is not that I would be slightly more effective if God showed up. Without Him we can do nothing.
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. We can fan the flames of a God-initiated doubling groups movement through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4)
That is what I want to do in 2008. I can't do it alone. I invite you to join me. More importantly, I invite you to join God in what God is doing in a world wide movement of doubling groups.