Doubling and Dieting

I eat, breath, think, sleep dream this stuff: doubling.

It is my passion because it will result in incredible outcomes: a group of 10 can reach a 1000 in 10 years by doubling every 18 months.

It is my passion because it is possible: it means for an average size group, going from 10 to 14 in a year.

It is my passion; I think about it all the time.

I am also thinking a lot about dieting these days.

I had a routine medical exam late last year. They discovered that my cholesterol was high. So, this year I have decided to go on a diet. I have lost about 20 pounds so far. I find myself thinking about it and talking about it a lot. Dieting and doubling, I find myself thinking of both of these things a lot. As it turns out, there are considerable similarities.

It is not rocket science

It is not rocket science to lose weight: I can summarize it in two words: diet and exercise. Need a little more information: eat less and move your body more.

Similarly, it isn't rocket science to double a class every two years or less. The first two of the five TIGER points will get you well on your way: Teach a half-way decent lesson and invite every member and every prospect to every fellowship every month.

Just do it! -- motivation will come later

This year, I have been asking the question, "Why isn't this happening already? Why doesn't it happen all the time?" I have yet to have someone say: "I don't know how. It is too hard to figure out. I tried and I just could not figure out how to do it."

More commonly, people say things like this. (I don't know that I would have accused people of these things; I am just reporting what I have heard.)

  • We are not motivated
  • We are not committed
  • We don't want to get outsiders to come;  not badly enough.
  • We are lazy

What people all across America are telling me is, "We could do this if we were motivated; we just are not motivated." Just like people say all the time, "I could lose weight if I were motivated. I know how. I just can't get motivated."

Here is the secret of successful dieters: motivation comes as a result, not a cause. Dieting calls for good old fashioned will power. You force yourself through hook or crook to stay on the diet for a time. Then, you watch for results. When you see results, you will have all the motivation you need. If you wait for motivation to come first, you will be waiting a long time. Here is the formula:

Action leads to results
Results lead to motivation
Motivation leads to more results.

You must take action first. Here is what I have recommend. Make a three month commitment to give Friday nights to Jesus every single Friday night. This is more than you may want to do in the long run, but it will almost guarantee you will get some results.

Measure carefully/ celebrate victories

I get on the scale every day. Every day. Feedback is the breakfast of champions. If you are not measuring your success, you are likely not having any success. If you don't want to get on the scale, there is a reason why--you know in your heart you have not been eating right and exercising. When you have been eating right, you want to get on the scale.

Getting on the scale alone will tend to cause you to lose weight. If I can force myself to get on the scale every day, the awareness will create a little motivation that will tend to cause me to eat right.

Doublers need a score keeping mechanism. They need a regular score keeping mechanism. They need to get on the scale every week and see how this week's attendance compares with past attendance.

A lot of churches have a one-page Sunday School report sent to their teachers each week. Perhaps e-mails is a better medium in this generation. In this report, you could include a brief summary of how each class did this week and this month compared with last semester.

Small victories are big

The great sin of novice dieters is a misconception of how quickly they are going to be able to take the pounds off. Novice dieters fully expect they are going to get on the scale every day and see a pound or two evaporate. One or two pounds a week is more realistic.

One answer to the question, "Why isn't it happening already?" is this: it is harder than you think to double. From one perspective, it means going from 10 to 14 in a year. Sound easy? Try it. It is more difficult than it looks.

Find a buddy

The Bible says,

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up! Eccles. 4:9-10 [NIV]

My wife and I have found much motivation in dieting together.

Some information helps

Even though it is not rocket science, still, some information helps. We got a little diet program for the Palm that lists thousands of food items and gives their calories. It is cool. It lists actual entrees at popular restaurants. You can look up the Salmon at Applebee's and compare it against the Tilapia.

I found in looking up calorie numbers for foods every day that my intuition was sometimes right, but often wrong. Some real information helps. I also read through a couple of diet books just to get me better informed about dieting and health. 

If you aspire to double your class, I'd encourage  you to read the book, go through the videos. Get the whole double bundle at a 60% discount to get all the information you need about how to double.

In the long run, you have to learn to love it

Discipline is over-rated. Forcing yourself to eat what you hate to eat can get you through for a while, but eventually, you have to discover foods that you love to eat that are healthy for you. You have to learn to love the feeling of eating healthfully and enjoy the results that come from it.

In the long run, you are going to learn to love giving Friday nights to Jesus or you won't keep it up over the long haul. Someone said to me last night, "This is going to be soooo hard for me." Hard? How hard could it be? We are talking about having some friends over to play cards, watch a movie, or eat pizza. There are Christian brothers world-wide who are called upon to suffer, be jailed or lose their lives because of their commitment to Christ. We are talking about having a party and inviting some people who are far from God to the party. How hard can it be?

Sunday School teachers that are doubling are some of the happiest people in the world. It is not a chore, not a burden. It is a joy. But, you have to learn to love it or you won't stay with it over the long haul.

Dr. Charles Stanley

We recently had the privilege of hosting Josh Hunt for our mid winter Sunday Morning Bible Study leadership conference. The emphasis on investing and building relationships is the key to reaching our society today. Fellowship is premium in a world where we face an epidemic of loneliness. People are looking for more than a "friendly" church. They want a place where they can grow and develop lasting relationships that will assist them in building a biblical foundation for life. If you have not had the opportunity to have Josh Hunt in your church or attend one of his conferences, make plans to involve your leadership. His concepts will make a difference in your thinking about how simple it really is to reach out to people.


Charles F. Stanley
Senior Pastor First Baptist Church Atlanta

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