“Follow my example”

I read this verse this morning: “Join with others in following my example.” Phil 3:17a (NIV)

As I read this verse, I thought about the power of example. Nothing much happens till someone sets an example. If I were to say to you, “I know how you could. . .

  • Loose 40 pounds
  • Get out of debt in six months
  • Double your church in one year

How would you respond?

Here is how I would respond: show me! Show me an example of someone who has done it.

Show me and example of someone who has done it, then let’s talk. I want to see an example.

Your people want to see and example. If you would start a doubling group movement in your church, set an example.

I remember the first time I heard Andy Stanley say (paraphrased), “I am in a group that is doubling; I want you to be in a group that is doubling.” I thought, “How fresh! What an idea! That is great!”

I have not caught Andy Stanley say it five different times. I actually have copies on my hard drive. Five times I have caught Andy saying, “I am in a group that is doubling; I want you to be in a group that is doubling.” I don’t see it as cool and fresh and novel any more. I see it as necessary and basic to starting a doubling group movement in your church.”

If you would start a doubling group movement in your church, consider standing before your people regularly and say, “I am in a group that is doubling; I want you to be in a group that is doubling.”

A great example of leading by example

I was researching for one of my lesson recently and ran across this great story on the power of example:

The famous radio journalist Paul Harvey, in one of his “Rest of the Story” segments, told the story of a physician whose character bore a striking resemblance to that of the author of Romans (as told by Paul Aurandt, More of Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story; this account summarized from Swindoll, p. 515):

Like most physicians of great experience, Dr. Evan O’Neil Kane had become preoccupied with a particular facet of medicine. His strong feelings concerned the use of general anesthesia in major surgery. He believed that most major operations could and should be performed under local anesthetic, for, in his opinion, the hazards of a general anesthesia outweighed the risks of the surgery itself. For example, patients with heart trouble or anesthesia allergies ran the risk of severe complications when placed under general anesthesia for surgery. Kane’s medical mission was to prove to his colleagues once for all the viability of local anesthesia. It would take a great deal of convincing.

To prove the viability of major surgery using only a local anesthetic, Kane would have to find a patient brave enough to go through what he hoped all patients would one day experience— major surgery without the dangers of general anesthesia. In his thirty-seven years as a surgeon, Kane had performed nearly four thousand appendectomies. This freed him from worrying about the complications of the surgery and focusing on the local anesthesia aspect. Having found a volunteer, he proceeded.

The patient was prepped in all the normal ways, but in the operating room was given only a local anesthetic. As he had thousands of times before, Kane entered the abdomen, slicing tissues and clamping blood vessels as he went. Locating the appendix, the surgeon nimbly clipped it away from its surrounding tissue, folded the stump back in place, and sewed up the patient’s wound—all with the patient being wide awake and experiencing only minor discomfort. After a restful recovery of two days—faster than most general anesthesia cases—the patient was released from the hospital to recuperate at home.

Kane had achieved his goal—to demonstrate that successful general surgery could be accomplished without the risks of general anesthesia. Since Dr. Kane’s experiment in 1921, his breakthrough technique has changed the face of surgery— but not only for scientific reasons. For Dr. Kane’s name was added to a short list of pioneers in the medical field who, so utterly convinced of the validity of their theories, chose to use them first on themselves. Kane’s first volunteer appendectomy patient was none other than himself. To prove his theory regarding local anesthesia, Dr. Evan Kane had removed his own appendix.

It has long been said that great leaders ask their followers to go nowhere they have not first been themselves.

—Holman New Testament Commentary

Nelson Searcy, another example of leading by example

Want a great read on groups? Pick up Nelson Searcy’s Activate. Here is a quote that relates to leading by example:

Most lead pastors share a common temptation when in comes to small groups: They want to turn the system over to someone else. They want to give it to a dedicated staff specialist so they don’t have to deal with it. We know! In theory this doesn’t sound like a bad idea. But the truth is, handing the system off too early is the worst thing a pastor can do for the small group system. As a matter of fact, when it comes to implementing a successful small group system, every single person has to be involved, starting with the top.

Larry Osborn of North Coast Church believes in leading by example

Involve all key leaders. Our lay leadership and staff are expected to be in a Growth Group. If your key leaders are too busy to be in a small group, it sends the message that small groups are an extra credit offering for those with time on their hands. –Outreach Magazine, Special Issue, 2008, page 86.

Johnny Hunt leads by example

I heard Johnny Hunt speak tonight at the New Mexico Baptist Convention. He mentioned that he attends Sunday School every week. Want to get the results in your Sunday School that Woodstock has enjoyed in theirs? Lead by example

If you would see a doubling group movement in your church, set an example.