"Bring your cell phone to the Sunday night service"

I know the TIGER system works on a small group/Sunday School class level. I am constantly looking for ways to make it work on a church-wide level. One of the limitations I have in working full time at conferences is I don't have a local church "lab" to work in.

One of the things I am hoping will come out of the Double Your Church Conferences is the perfecting of this plan through the feedback of working closely with actual churches. In the meantime, I ran across an idea last week I just had to share. I call it the Morgan Malone plan.

I do Sunday seminars in a wide variety of formats. Sometimes I teach all adults during the Sunday School hour, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I preach, sometimes I don't. Sometimes the conference is right after lunch, sometimes it is late afternoon. I thought I had done it all. I had never done what Morgan Malone asked me to do in Bonham, Texas.

Morgan asked me to teach One Magnificent Obsession during Sunday School. Then I was to give a condensed version of Double Your Class during the worship service, using Luke 5.29 as the text ("Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them." as well as Luke 5:29) and Romans 12:13 ("Get in the habit of inviting guests home for dinner." [LIV])

The twist came in the evening service. Morgan asked everyone to bring their cell phones. He had prepared lists of absentees ready. (It would have been good to have prospects as well, but the plan came together too late for this.) He asked each Sunday School class to plan a party during the next 30 days, working through the following form:

Levi Party

“Building Bridges to Carry the Gospel to Your Friends”

Luke 5:29, 30 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 

What is the date of your event?  (Then, implies a specific time that Levi held his party)

 

Who will coordinate your party?  (Levi coordinated the party.)

 

What kind of event will it be?  (Levi’s event was a great banquet.

 

 

What is the purpose of your event?  (The party was for Jesus.)

 

 

Where will your event be held?  (Levi had his party at his house.)

 

 

 

Who will invite every member?  (Levi invited a large crowd of tax collectors.)

 

 

Who will invite every prospect?  (Levi invited others.) ________________________________________________________________________

 

What kind of refreshments will you have?  ( The text says they ate.)

 

 

When you finish your form please make a copy of it and leave it in the office.  We want to help you publicize your event.

After sending the groups to 15 minutes of brainstorming and actually calling people to invite them, Morgan called the group back together for a reporting time. Each group reported on what they have planned, who will do what and the results of the phone calls that were made. In coming weeks, the plan is to report on the fellowships and then do a planning night during the evening worship service about once a month. The genius of the plan is threefold:

  • It builds the double plan into the culture.
  • It gets started.
  • It acknowledges of the principle of substitution.

Building Doubling into the culture

The goal is that the expectation for every class will be that we will have a party every month, we will invite every member every month and that we will invite every prospect every month. We must move past good ideas and the novelty of a new way of doing things to building this into the culture so that it happens with most every class most every month. One of the best ways to do this is to build it into the existing weekly schedule.

Getting Started

The first step is always the most difficult. Once you get started, you get feedback. Once you get started you develop momentum. Everything depends on getting started. Whether it is a diet or putting aside money for a retirement, everything depends on getting started.

If you are planning a Double Seminar, you might consider including this getting started element. Get some class lists and prospects together and let me know ahead of time. I will allow some time to allow groups to plan their first fellowship and actually make some phone calls during the seminar. I think this is time better spent than hearing the entire presentation. We can come back later and do the rest of the seminar if you want.

The Principle of Substitution

The dollar you spend here you cannot spend there (see Mom, I was listening!) The hour you spend on this, you can't spend on that. We have a bad habit of saying we are going to do something without thinking through what we are not going to do. Whenever we decide to do something, we have to decide to not do something else.

This may sound controversial to some, but I don't think the great need of the hour is another worship service and teaching time. I think the Sunday evening time slot is far better spent planning ministry, doing ministry, reporting on ministry and celebrating ministry than having another teaching time.

Summary: once a month I recommend you do a planning time on Sunday Night. Once a month I recommend you do a reporting/celebration/ accountability time on Sunday night.

I will be interested in hearing from Morgan Malone and First Baptist Bonham, Texas in days to come. I am predicting good things.