This Sunday I am starting a new series at Open Life called The Circle Maker, based on Mark Batterson’s newest book. It is one of the more challenging books I have read recently on the power of prayer. The topic I am hitting on this Sunday is Dreaming BIG.
One of the quotes that is resonating and challenging me is, “The death of a dream is often a subtle form of idolatry. We lose faith in the God who gave us the big dream and settle for a small dream that we can accomplish without His help. We go after dreams that don’t require divine intervention.”
When we felt prompted to start a church in Bonney Lake in the spring of 2009 we looked at a demographic study that said there were 91,000 people within a 5-mile radius of the city and 80,000 of those did not indicate that they were following Jesus. My heart was encouraged that our region has 12% of it’s population growing in a relationship with Jesus, about 6% higher than the average of our state. At the same time my heart was broken for the 88% of our community that is missing out on so much of what life has to offer.
As we lay awake at night I could see a church that would engage the community with the same energy and passion as Jesus shows in scripture. Living a life of faith that demonstrates the love of Jesus, that our example would demand an explanation. I could see the impact of relevant people engaging the community by being on mission no matter where we were; work, play, poker, etc. In my mind the big dream was that we would exponentially grow, as in scripture, seeing people lead into a growing relationship with Jesus daily. Reaching the 80,000 became something I verbalized so frequently.
But over the last year we have grown in favor, but not number. Honestly it is easy in a season like this to let your dream become more realistic and accept addition to the faith instead of multiplication. Avoiding numbers and sharing stories because the numbers honestly are not that encouraging at times.
This book is awakening the passion in me again to not accept anything but the 80,000. It is possible to reach our city, region and world with the gospel and through creative means we must multiply and not embrace addition because people’s eternities are at stake. It is just too high a price to accept something less than the dream God placed in our hearts of reaching the 80,000 not pursuing or even considering a relationship with Jesus. So, I am not leading people to go after one plus one or two plus one any longer. It’s 2 times 2 and 4 times 2 and 16 times 2, true biblical multiplying.
This week we will put a challenge out to our church to reach those whom they love through the Easter Experience we have prepared at Open Life called “One Day to Change the World.” We are going to dream big for April 8th and believe for multiplication, not for our growth sake or to say we did it. We are going after doubling our church because eternities are in the balance, because the dream of Open Life is to reach 80,000 not 80! Because Easter is the one time a year people truly ponder “what if Jesus is real”. This will take God mobilizing His people in the next 4 weeks, it will take God in the weeks following Easter as well, and yes; the months following as we continue to multiply. People are about to have an unforgettable encounter with a safe church passionate about a powerful message that is alive and well today…the gospel. The power of salvation for all who believe.
Time to dream big again…pray with me for the 80,000