Doubling Teachers are Happy Teachers

To hear and see the happy video testimonies of teachers who have doubled, see

"We are happy the way we are." I hear this all the time.

Andy Stanley taught me that a group of ten that doubles every eighteen months will reach a thousand people in ten years. My research indicates that there is a world-wide, unprecedented movement by which this is happening. I present this week after week to teachers, 100+ times a year.

People never argue the math. They never argue whether or not it is possible. What I often hear is, "I don't know if we want to do that, we are happy the way we are."

One question this response raises is, "Are you really saying to me that your happiness is more important than reaching a thousand people in the next ten years?" That is a good question, but it is not the topic of today's article. I'd like to look at a different question:

Do you think your happiness would go up or down if you gave yourself to the cause of doubling groups?

Imagine it is five years from now. You are sitting in your church's auditorium. It is three minutes before the worship service starts. You look around the room and can spot three teachers who are teaching groups that came out of your group. One more came out of one of those, for a total of four classes. You look around some more. You see a few people who have been saved and baptized through your group in the recent years. They have become good friends. They have added such life to your class. Their fresh perspective, their first love has renewed the first love of everyone in the class, including you. You look around and see others who have been won by other classes. You see a few people who are serving in children's classes that have come out of your class. You see a number who were not saved through the influence of your class but they have made significant rededications to God and have seen God turn their lives around.

You begin to pray, thanking God for using you in His work. You are so grateful for the privilege of serving the Lord through teaching and advancing the kingdom through groups that live out the mantra of doubling groups: 2 Timothy 2.2.

You think about the next five years. You calculate that if you add up all the people who are attending today in your class and the groups that have come out of your class, you estimate it is about a hundred. You have gone from fifteen to a hundred in five years. At this rate of growth, thinking about the next five years is really exciting.

Would you go back?

Let's imagine at this point God spoke to you. He asked you if you wanted to go back five years to your comfortable, though slightly sleepy, plateaued group. Would you do it? Of course not.

The reason has to do with a profound, yet commonly misunderstood principle of the Christian life. John Piper talks about this in a sermon he calls, "Let Your Passion Be Single." (You can download this sermon for free at )

He talks about the fact that early in his life he recognized that he had two passions that he thought were in conflict with each other. He grew up in a Christian home and knew he was to give his life to glorifying God. But, he also knew he wanted to be happy. For a long time he thought he had to choose between his happiness and God's glory. After careful study of the Bible, and reading some C.S. Lewis and Jonathan Edwards, he came to the conviction that these two are not in conflict. Here is Piper's summary: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Some of the verses that Piper discovered included these:

  •  Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Philip. 3:1 [NIV]
  •  Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philip. 4:4 [NIV]
  • Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 [NIV]
  •  Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.
    Psalm 97:12 [NIV]
  •  Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise him! Psalm 64:10 [NIV]

Over and over the Bible commands us to rejoice in the Lord. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

And, there is no obedience except that we are also obedient to the command of God to rejoice in the Lord always. You cannot be righteous and grumpy. Happiness and holiness come together. (Piper also makes a big point of the fact the Bible is indiscriminant in its uses of words like happiness and joy. The Bible uses them interchangeably.)

Jesus promised us abundance. Following God always leads to a more abundant life. Serving Him always leads us into greater joy. It may cost us in the short run, but in the long run it leads to greater abundance.

C.S. Lewis was also pivotal to John Piper's thinking on this subject. Here is a pivotal quote from Lewis:

The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire.
If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. (C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,1965], pp. 1-2.)

Our joy and God's glory go together. He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. We find our greatest joy in living for and serving and being obedient to Him.

Doubling's Dirty Little Secret

I am in over a hundred churches a year these days. About half of them are growing, some of them are growing rapidly. The rest are struggling. Here is the dirty little secret: the growing churches are having more fun.

I have talked to hundreds of doubling teachers over the years. A common theme is, "My class is the single most exhilarating thing in my life." Let's be honest. When is the last time you were in a plateaued class that felt that way? When was the last time you were in a plateaued class that anyone would describe as exhilarating? People who are doubling their classes feel that way. They feel they are moving the ball down the field. They are making some progress. That are advancing the kingdom. Lives are being changed. They are having a ball.

When God asks us to live out 2 Timothy 2.2 through doubling groups, he doesn't do it to punish us. He wants to give us life to the full. Doubling groups are happy groups. Non-doubling groups are sleepy by comparison.

I want to ask you to give your life to doubling your group. There are a hundred good reasons why. Here is one: it will make you happy. 



To hear and see the happy video testimonies of teachers who have doubled, see