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You Can Double your church every five years or less by helping classes to double every two years or less. The process of doubling your class every two years or less is based on four foundational principles and five sequential steps. The four foundations principles are:
Quality is more important that quantity. By quality I mean the quality of the lives we are producing. God has called us to make disciples, not converts. Nothing less than the production of fully mature disciples can be hailed as obedience to the great commission. Some aspire to make fully devoted followers of Christ. Fully devoted is not enough. You can be fully devoted in a heartbeat--many in foxholes are. Maturity, on the other hand, takes years to cultivate. The goal is fully mature followers of Christ.
Principle #1 is just barely true. Quantity is also important. Obedience to the great commission necessarily implies countable, graphable growth. God is not only interested in the saints becoming more spiritual. He wants more saints. We should want more saints as well.
Principle #3: the Principle of Ownership. The key to producing qualitative and quantitative growth is giving ownership of the ministry to laymen. With ownership comes decision making power. No one ever washes rental cars. Where would you rather live, in a neighborhood of owner occupied homes or in a neighborhood of homes where tenants dwelt. Owner occupied every time because we know that people tend to take care of things that are theirs. The key to doubling every five years or less is giving ownership of the ministry to laymen.
Principle #4: the Principle of the Franchise. The most successful businesses are businesses that follow a franchise model. Over a million new businesses are born in America every year. Eighty percent of them will fail within the first five years. Of the 200,000 that survive their fifth birthday, only 20% will see their tenth birthday.(1) There is one type of business, however, that has an 95% annual success rate over the first five years: the business franchise. Only five percent of business started using a franchise model fail.(2) Businesses used to franchise a product, like Coca Cola or Cadillac. The power of the franchise was in the commodity. Today, businesses are franchising almost everything. They key difference is that they are not franchising a product, so much as they are franchising a system. McDonalds is not franchising a hamburger; it is franchising a way of making hamburgers.
The business franchise is based on the principle of sowing and reaping. If you sow predictable activity you will get predictable results. The double your class system is a franchise for growing a class. It has shown predictable results when faithfully executed in a wide variety of settings. By taking ownership of the responsibility for executing the five steps below, teachers can rest in the confidence that they will double every two years or less.
Here are the five steps to double a class every two years or less:
T - Teach a halfway decent lesson each and every week; nothing less will do. You do not have to be Church Swindoll to grow a class. However, you must produce reasonably good lessons every single week in order to grow a class. The better the teaching, the easier it is to grow a class. Some teachers are so good at teaching they can grow a class on the sheer magnetism of their presentation. You are probably not that good. Not many are. But, you are probably good enough, or you can be. Strive to teach as well as you can. The number one predictor of the growth of a class is the teaching ability of the teacher.
I - Invite every member and every visitor to every fellowship every month. If we love them, they will come. We invite every member because it is good inreach. We invite every visitor, because it is good outreach. We do it every month because it is effective ministry.
G - Give Friday nights to Jesus for an informal time of fellowship, cards and Diet Coke. People who are opposed to the gospel are not opposed to ice cream. The Bible Says, Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (I Peter 4:9) If we will simply be obedient to this one command, we can double our classes every two years or less and our churches every five years or less.
E - Encourage the group toward ministry. We do this by providing specific examples of ministry and personally enlisting people to join the team. I encourage people to pick from the following seven examples of ministry opportunities:
Detailed job descriptions are provided in You Can Double Your Class in Two Year or Less.
R - Reproduce. Doubling a class every two years or less is not about going from 10 to 20. It is about going from one group to two. Reproduction is hard on any level. Still, The future of the church is the reproduction of groups. The key to creating a new group is leadership. The price of creating a new group is saying good-bye. We must be willing to say good-bye in order to be obedient to the great commission. It is hard to say good bye. It is hard to for missionaries going oversees to say good bye to family and friends lift behind. I know. When my parents announced that they were taking the family half way around the globe to serve as missionaries in the Philippines, my grand parents response was curt and clear: "NO." My parents' eyes widened. "No you are not. You are not taking my grand babies 10,000 miles from home to be raised in the jungles of the Philippines. I will not miss their next 4 birthdays." They understood. The price of saying good-bye is extremely high. I am not necessarily asking you to fly across an ocean and raise your family in the tropics. I am asking your to leave some of your best friends for one our a week to help start a new class. This will be a higher price than some are willing to pay for the advancement of the kingdom. This is why we must produce mature disciples with a kingdom mentality. Only the mature can reproduce. Only mature disciples are willing to say good-bye. We must reproduce in order to insure the life of the next generation.
There you have it. That is how You Can Double your class in two years or less. For more details, see my book You Can Double Your Class In Two Years Or Less. Doubling a class every two years or less is easy. Doubling a church every five years of less is easy. In the next chapter, I will show you why.
1. What have you put into practice from what we have studied in previous weeks? How are you different today than you were a month ago?
2. What is meant by the phrase "quality is more important than quantity."?
3. What is the difference between a fully devoted follower of Christ and a fully mature follower of Christ? Can you have one without the other?
4. What are some qualities of a fully mature disciple?
5. We will deal with this more in a later chapter, but what are the non-negotiable in your mind for making mature followers of Christ?
6. In what ways can numbers be abused?
7. How would argue the case, biblically, that God is interested in numbers?
8. Explain how the principle of ownership relates to church growth.
9. How much ownership of the ministry should we give to layman? Can we do too much?
10. What is meant by the principle of the franchise as it relates to ministry? Do you agree with this principle? Do you have any reservations, or see any exceptions?
11. How would you evaluate your Sunday School teachers skill in teaching? Take a moment to evaluate each one on a scale of one to ten. What is your average?
12. What ideas would you have in improving the quality of the teaching in your Sunday School in the next twelve months?
13. How important is quality teaching to the process of disciplemaking?
14. What does the I stand for in the T.I.G.E.R. model?
15. Has anyone had any experience with "giving Friday nights to Jesus?" Tell us about it.
16. Someone look up Luke 10:2. What did Jesus teach was the bottleneck of the evangelistic/disciplemaking process?
17. What ideas do you have for recruiting people to ministry and keeping them motivated in the task?
18. Why is it so difficult to reproduce new classes?
19. What ideas do you have for making it happen?
20. What is one thing from this study that you could put into practice in the next two weeks?
1. Michael E. Gerber, The E Myth, (New York, New York: Harper Collins, 1995), p. 2.
2. Michael E. Gerber, The E Myth, (New York, New York: Harper Collins, 1995), p. 82.