As a proponent of church health and growth, I’ve come to believe in the necessity of exponential faith-thinking. To explain this in very practical terms, consider adding a zero to every goal. Do you want to reach 1,000 for Christ in your community? Why not, in faith, set a goal to reach 10,000? Faith means setting a goal so incredibly bold that you’re bound to fail unless God moves in a miraculous way.
It’s in the realm of the impossible that faith works. Exponential thinking stretches us, and forces us to think of new ways to get the job done.
Do you want to transform your community? Why stop there? Why not make it your goal to bring global glory to God!
When I wrote The Purpose-Driven Life, I had not only Saddleback Church in mind, but also all the people in Orange County. But I also believed – in faith – that the book could be an instrument of transformation across the nation, and then the world.
We led the Saddleback congregation through 40 Days of Purpose, a six-week emphasis designed to teach people the five purposes for which God created them: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and missions.
During those 40 Days we baptized 671 new believers, added almost 1,200 new members, and increased our average attendance by 2,000. In addition, our members became so concerned for their lost friends that they convinced more than 25,000 of their neighbors to study the Bible for six weeks in one of 2,400 small groups we established in homes around our city.
We were so blessed by the results that we launched a national pilot, joining with over 1,500 other churches in all 50 states to lead their people through 40 Days of Purpose. Hundreds of pastors and lay leaders wrote us, saying, “Our church will never be the same” or “This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to our church.” One pastor wrote, “I’ve seen more growth in our members in the last 40 days than in the last 13 years.”
Untold thousands came to Christ, were baptized, welcomed into church membership, connected to small groups or Sunday school classes, taught the meaning of real worship and fellowship, equipped for ministry, and then sent out for mission in the world.
Troubled marriages were healed, broken relationships between church members restored, and a new spirit of unity, vision, and purpose swept through many congregations.
As we say at Saddleback, “Yeah, God!”
I want to challenge you to think exponentially when you consider your church and to think on a godly scale about how you and your staff could help usher revival and renewal into your community.
There are many ways God may lead you to do this and I don’t want to suggest that there is one formulaic direction. See what God has to say about this–and then believe him for BIG, BIG things.
Perhaps one step in that direction might be to lead your staff or your entire church through 40 Days of Purpose. Imagine if every member of your staff or every member of your church joined together to discover why God created each of you and placed you within your specific congregation.
I suspect you’d fan the flames of revival as hundreds – maybe thousands – of lives were transformed!
Rick Warren is the Founding Pastor of Saddleback Church. He is also the author of the bestselling books, Purpose Driven Life and Purpose Driven Church.