Survey says. . . Part 6
Note: this article is one of six articles that eventually grew into a book: Make Your Group Grow.
What is the one factor trumps everything else by a factor of eleven?
Growing classes are eleven times more likely to believe they will be growing than are non-growing classes. Eleven times. (Note: this is not a scientifically randomized survey, but rather a survey of group leaders that I filled out surveys online and at conferences.)
Again, the question of cause and effect comes into play. Do growing classes believe they will be growing in the future because they are growing now? Does the growth cause the belief? Or, does the faith cause the growth? Are they growing because they expected to grow? Truth be told, we can't be sure, but I'd say there was some of both.
If you want to grow your class, start with a strong belief--an expectation that you can grow your class. If you want to develop that belief, get your class growing now. Nothing like seeing some progress that starts to build your faith.
There is a foundational biblical principle at work here. Faith proceeds almost everything. Jesus said, "it will done for you according to our faith." Indeed. We sometimes hear people say, "I bet he never believed THAT would happen." That may be true occasionally, but more often I would guess it is not. More often he (or she) saw it happen because he believed it would.
This story is told of Mrs. Disney on they day Disney World opened in Orlando. She was interviewed by Walter Cronkite. Her husband had passed away and never got to see the opening of the magic kingdom. Lamenting this, Walter Cronkite said to Mrs. Disney, "Isn't it ashamed Walt never got to see this!" Her reply was quick: "He did; that is why it is here."
Indeed. Everything that exists exists because someone saw it first. Can you see your class growing? Can you see your class doubling? Can you see a mighty army of God raised up to double microcosms of the church growing and dividing, growing and dividing, growing and dividing?
If you, you might run over to http://sundayschool.ning.com/ There you will find dozens of videos of teachers who have doubled their classes every two years or less. You will get the idea, after watching a dozen of so of those, "I can do that!" And, you can. But you must believe.
You sometimes hear people say, "I will believe it when I see it." Usually, the opposite is true. We see it when we believe it.
Late in his life, Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators wrote a brief tract on the subject that began like this:
( http://www.discipleshiplibrary.com/pdfs/AA065.pdf )
What is the need of the hour? That depends upon the person who is thinking about it. If I’m walking along the street and see a beggar with a tin cup, what’s the need of the hour? A dime. If a woman is being taken to the hospital, what’s the need of the hour? A doctor.
But in Christian work, what is the need of the hour? I started to list the things that we often feel are the need - those things which if supplied, would end our troubles.
Some say, "Well, if I just had a larger staff ..." Would more staff be the answer? Today many a minister would like to have an assistant and many a mission would like to have more missionaries. The cry of returned missionaries is always for more men and women to fill up the ranks - to them, the need of the hour.
Others say, "We don’t need more workers, but if we had better facilities ... if we just had more office space and more buildings and bigger grounds and a base of operation ... if we had a place like Glen Eyrie ... then we could do the job."
In certain areas of the world they say it’s communications we lack, or better transportation, or better means to take care of health. The need of the hour on many a mission field is merely a radio. But if you get that radio, then there’s another need followed by something else and something else. Many feel it is literature. I hear that in my travels all over the world, "We just lack literature."
I know of people today who are saying, "If we could just get into a certain place." For years people have been on the borders of Nepal saying, "If we could just get in." To them the need of the hour is an open door into Nepal. Right now hundreds of people are saying, "If we could just get into China." The Bible says, "My God shall supply all your needs ... " If the need were an open door into China, why doesn’t God open it? "These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth ... I have set before thee an open door."
Paul found closed doors, but closed doors to him weren’t the problem. I believe those closed doors were used of God to show him the open doors he was to go through next. If God wanted to put His hand over the great country of China tonight, He could open the door in forty-eight hours.
Some say, "We need time. If we just had more time ... " Others say, "If I just weren’t so old, if I were young again." People have said to me, "Daws, if I had known when I was twenty years old what I know now, I could have done a hundred times more for the Lord. Why didn’t I?"
Often the biggest need of the hour seems to be money. "If we just had money ... That’s the answer to a larger staff, more facilities, literature, communications and transportation ... If we just had money."
What is the need of the hour? Frankly, I don’t believe it is any of these. I am convinced that the God of the universe is in control and He will supply all of these needs in His own way and in His own time, all else being right.
Let me tell you what I believe the need of the hour is. Maybe I should call it the answer to the need of the hour. I believe it is an army of soldiers, dedicated to Jesus Christ, who believe not only that He is God, but that He can fulfill every promise He has ever made, and that there isn’t anything too hard for Him.
It is still the need of the hour: an army of soldiers, totally dedicated to Jesus Christ and the advancement of His kingdom, who believe that God is God and he can fulfill every promise he ever made and there isn't anything too hard for Him. Give us an army like that and we can turn the world upside down through Christ who strengthens us.