We can take
America for God by giving the ministry to laymen who are using their
gifts to grow their groups to double their classes every two years
If it works, why isn't it working?
We can it do through at least
half-way decent teaching and by inviting every member and every
prospect to every fellowship every month. We can do it by being
obedient to the command of God to offer hospitality:
- Offer hospitality to one another
without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9 (NIV)
- Get into the habit of inviting guests
home for dinner. Romans 12:13 (Living)
- We ought therefore to show hospitality
to such men so that we may work together for the truth. 3 John
- Then he told the man who had invited him,
"When you invite people for lunch or dinner, don't invite
only your friends." Luke 14:12 (GW)
Last week I
wrote about a half a dozen or so comments I have received recently
confirming the fact that if we will do this--if we will offer
hospitality to one another without grumbling, and offer hospitality
to the right people, (not just our friends) we can double a class
every two years or less.
I received this confirmation from my friend,
Josh - it works
in Russia, too! I have just consulted with a church we
helped plant in Russia & this is exactly what I told them to
do. They are doing it already, but not strategically. I
encouraged them to plan & be more strategic in their
Union Baptist Association
It begs a question, which is a haunting
question of my life: why isn't it happening on a broad scale? I have
thought a lot about this question. In fact, it is the basis of this
year's Double Your Class Seminar. Presenting this week after week
has caused me to really think deeply about this.
The more I think about it, the more I am
convinced that through the ministry of hospitality, we can double
a class in two years or less. The average class size is 10.
Doubling every two years or less translates into 40% annual growth,
or going from 10 to 14 in a year. We can do that. Through Christ who
strengthens us, we can do that.
The more I think about it, the more I am
convinced that doubling every two years or less will result in
incredible results. A group of 10 that doubles every 18 months
can reach 1,000 people in ten years through doubling groups. I agree
with Andy Stanley:
"I don't know what your plan is for reaching people for Christ, but
until you come up with a better plan, why not participate in this
It still begs the question: why isn't it
happening already? The question can be answered with another
I had someone in Littlefield, TX ask me this
profound question. "I agree. I know this stuff will work. Here is my
problem. I come to church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday
night, visitation, deacons meetings, committee meetings. I know it
will work, but, quite honestly, I don't know that I will get to it."
You may disagree, but here is what I said to
him. I think you are going to have to move it up--way up in your
priority structure. In fact, if I were your pastor, I would ask you
to make it your 2nd church priority. Your first church priority is
to come on Sunday morning for Bible Study (Sunday School) and
Worship. Then, if you want, stay home on Sunday night. Stay home on
Wednesday night. Get off the committees. Resign as a deacon. Don't
come to visitation any more. But, make being obedient to the command
of God to "Get in the habit of inviting guests home for dinner" your
second church priority. Then, if you want, you can add some things
back in. You may want to add back in Sunday night, Wednesday night,
deacons and so forth. Add them back, in whatever order makes sense
to you. But, make giving Friday nights to Jesus your second church
You may disagree with my perspective, and I
can respect that. But, here is the deal. If hospitality is your 4th,
5th, 6th, or 7th church priority behind Sunday morning, Sunday
night, Wednesday night, deacons, committees, visitation, etc. . .
let's get realistic. You won't get this done. You may as well make a
conscious, calculated decision to never do hospitality, because if
it is that far down on the priority list, it won't get done.
Do you know what keeps many of us from being
more effective for God?
Church keeps many of us from being more
effective for God. Church activities that all have one thing in
common: we sit in rows and listen to a speaker speak.
One of the great services that Rick Warren has
done for the body of Christ is to remind us that there are five
purposes of the church, and we ought to make some attempt to balance
the five purposes. Just a reminder, the five purposes are:
The first three are addressed on Sunday
morning. It just makes sense to me that the next time slot we give
to God addresses the other two: ministry and evangelism. One way to
do that is through the ministry of hospitality.
It makes sense to me, and, the feedback I am
getting says it makes sense to a lot of people, but I am fearful it
is a change that many will not be willing to make.
There is a strong church culture around the
idea that good church members attend church at least three times a
week: Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night. I have heard it
preached from the pulpit: Those who really love the church
attend Sunday night, but those who really love Jesus, attend
ran across this clever appeal for men to attend both
Wednesday night and a Saturday morning men's meeting:
C - It shows a commitment to God for what he gave to me.
O - It helps me to remain obedient to Godís Word
M - To share and laugh with fellow believing men
M - Helps one to maintain a level of accountability
I - Helps keep me independent from the secular world
T - Continually reminds me of the treasures that I have in Heaven
M - Reminds me twice weekly of proper biblical moral conduct
E - Reminds me several times a week of everlasting eternal life
N - Helps not to lead me into temptation
T - Staying in the word transforms me into eventual glorification
I am not arguing the virtue of this approach.
I am simply stating that life is about choices. If we choose to come
Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and, in this case
Saturday morning, it is not likely that we will give Friday nights
I am calling for a radical shift in church
culture. I think we need to say to people, "It is O.K. to stay home
from some of the meetings. Give Friday nights to Jesus. Offer
hospitality without grumbling. Get in the habit of inviting guests
home for dinner. Make it a priority. Move it up--way up in the
Where is an evening of hospitality going to
come from? Will it come from your family time? Will you work less?
Will you do fewer date nights with your wife? Whenever we say "yes"
to one thing, we have to say, "no" to something else.
Giving Friday nights to Jesus will cost you.
If you have not done this stuff you have no idea how much trouble it
is having fun. Reaching out to people through the ministry of
hospitality is work. All good ideas degenerate into work.
I'd invite you to have a long talk with Jesus
about where this ought to fit in your priority structure. It may be
different for everyone. Search your soul and make a prayerful,
thoughtful decision to the glory of God.
The Bible says, "Get in the habit of
inviting guests home for dinner." Psychologists tell us about
90% of what we do is a habit. We either do it as a habit or we don't
do it at all. We either move it way up in the priority structure, or
we don't do it at all. We either make it the default mode or we
don't do it all all. Which is it for you--habit, or not doing it at
We can take America for God by giving the
ministry to laymen who are using their gifts to grow their groups to
double their classes every two years or less. We can do it through
the ministry of hospitality. But, we are going to have to move it up--way up
in the priority structure.
And, although this will be a major shift
for many, it is not a royal pain in the back side. It is a wonderful
way to live. It is a wonderful thing, living in community, among
friends. It is flat-out a fun way to live. Truthfully, I would
rather spend an evening doing hospitality ministry than spend an
evening doing visitation. But, this is not what I would rather do.
This is about what is effective in this generation.
In this generation, it is not enough to tell
people about a God who loves them. We must love them. It is not
enough to tell people about what a friend we have in Jesus. We must
be their friend. And when we become their friend, their heart starts to
warm up to a message about what a friend they can have in Jesus.
When we love them their heart starts to warm up to a message about a
God who loves them.
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