The leader is the one who climbs to the highest branch of the tallest tree and scans the horizon and calls out for all to hear, "wrong jungle." (Paraphrased from Stephen Covey).
I have been running around the country for the last several years talking about how to double a class in two years or less. The assumption here, of course, is that people want to double, they just don’t know how. I have a growing conviction that this is the wrong jungle. It is not about how; it is about why. If the why is strong enough, the how will take care of itself. I have written a new book that speaks to why we should double our groups.
I asked a group of 600 at Riverside Baptist in Denver last week, "How many of you think you could double a class if I offered you $100,000 to do so?" Nearly every hand went up. We all know we could double a class if we were adequately motivated.
That is why I wrote One Magnificent Obsession. I want to give you twelve compelling reasons to give your one and only life toward the cause of doubling the "capital-C" Church in the next twenty years by helping your micro-church (Sunday School class or small group) to double every two years or less. One Magnificent Obsession is all about motivation. It is all about why.
The most compelling reason may surprise you. Sometimes people ask me to come and motivate their people. They will say, "These people are just not that motivated; come fire them up!" By this I sense they mean, "Come tell them why they ought to double their class and why they should double." As it turns out this is not the best way to motivate. Oughts and shoulds may be true; they just are not very motivating. They are mostly about what the Bible calls the power of the law.
The more motivating approach is to follow the example of Dr. Doug Sager of First Baptist Concord, where I was yesterday. In describing him, my host, Steve, said, "He is just an incredibly happy person. He enjoys life and creates an incredible atmosphere in the church." Joy is what motivates. And what is the result? Well, take a look at this graph of Sunday School attendance over the last 20 years. See what joy can do.
If you would motivate your teachers to double every two years or less, live joyously and teach them to live joyously. Teach them that the happiest people on the planet are people who know their purpose and are living out their purpose before our God. That purpose includes following Jesus in "seeking and saving those who are lost." What a thrill.
A little known secret of church life is that doubling churches are significantly happier than non-doubling churches. They smile more. They laugh more. They hug more. They resonate with the words of the psalmist who said, "I rejoiced with those who said to me, 'let us go to the house of the Lord.'"
People are inherently motivated by their self interest. We all do what we believe is best for us. We are all tuned into radio station WIIFM: "What's In It For Me." God doesn't ask us to deny our thirst for joy so much as He wants to satisfy it. He satisfies it in a relationship with Himself and through meaningful work. Jesus said, "The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started." John 4:34 [Msg]
Paul said, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philip. 3:14 [NIV] and, "This is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way." 2 Tim. 4:7 [Msg] He admonished us, "You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win." 1 Cor. 9:24 [Msg] Joy is not only about relationship with God, it is also about losing ourselves in some grand cause.
Some of the happiest people on the planet are people who are lost in the great cause of doubling the "capital-C" church by doubling their micro-church, their Sunday School class or small group every two years or less.
German social scientist Christian Swartz has done exhaustive research into what makes for a healthy, growing church. One of his findings: doubling churches laugh more than non-doubling churches. Swartz' research is written up in the excellent book, Natural Church Development.
If you would motivate your teachers to double every two years or less, motivate by joy. If you are a teacher and would motivate the team--inreach, outreach, fellowship leaders, etc., be about joy. Commit yourself to learning to be obedient to the command of God to rejoice in the Lord always. Show them the happiest people on the planet are not only in relationship with God, but have partnered with God in reconciling the world to Himself. Joy, as it turns out, is both a cause and result of doubling.
If you want some more reasons to give yourself to this Magnificent Obsession, I'd invite you to order my new book, One Magnificent Obsession. If you like it and would like to make this a part of the culture of your church, I'd invite you consider hosting a conference featuring this new material.
Josh Hunt has done a tremendous job in setting forth a challenge of growing and reaching out through Bible Study groups. The dream to double at stated intervals is a worthy goal and one that is obtainable. He has given “how to” in a very clear and straightforward way. I commend this book to all who want to see their Bible Study grow.
Josh Hunt has a passion for the lost and the hurting. Even more importantly, Jesus has a passion for the lost and hurting. One Magnificent Obsession is not a book about numbers and statistics. It is about a passion to reach and help the people behind the numbers. Read this book and be prepared to have a heart change to see God’s Kingdom grow.
Thom Rainer, Dean of the Billy Graham School
Josh is onto something in this book. The challenge of doubling in two years is more a matter of will than of knowing how. This book will help any leader cultivate a heart for what I see surfacing among most of the emerging churches–a heart for multiplication.
Josh Hunt is the master of practicality. If you want to know how it works, ask Josh Hunt.