John Ortberg, Dave Ferguson, Albert Tate, Ed Stetzer, Will Mancini and others introduced this year’s “Dream Big” theme—focusing on the power of identifying a big multiplication dream and reawakening the wonderment (including the magic of snow in Southern California from illusionist Harris III) and courage to pursue the specific vision God has given you and your church. Below, we’ve collected the day’s top highlights:
The God of Big Dreams and Open Doors… John Ortberg asked leaders to think about the open doors God has placed in their lives—how we’re discerning them and why we’re not walking through them.
“We worship a God of open doors—of big dreams! The primary dream is not what you’ll do, but the person you become. God is much more concerned with you than the door you go through. The overarching promise is, ‘I will be with you.’
“The best way to discern big open doors is to practice walking through a lot of little ones. Every moment has an open door when we surrender ourselves to God. Too many people refuse to go through the open door, saying they ‘just don’t feel a peace about it.’ Peace lies on the other side of obedience, in finding God in these circumstances right here.”
Three future-changing questions. Dave Ferguson challenged leaders with the same question he got during the early days of Community Christian Church: “What’s the big dream for your church?” Back then, that question compelled him to scrawl out his “dream napkin,”; today he encouraged leaders to follow his lead and sketch out their own dream napkin. Sharing regrets of waiting nine years to plant their first church out of Community Christian Church, Dave challenged leaders to ask three questions he wishes he had asked himself and his team during that time:
- Who are the leadership residents on our church-planting team?
- What percentage of our budget will go to multiplication?
- When will we plant our first church?
“Why did it take us so long? I think it’s because we never asked the question ‘When?’ We had the vision, but we didn’t dare to put a date on the calendar. Asking the ‘when’ question will lead you to answer the ‘who’ and the ‘what.’”
Missing God’s bigger dream. Albert Tate warned leaders of becoming so focused on their dream that they miss God’s bigger dream. He reminded us that as we follow His vision to be the church He has called us to be, God has His eyes on us, His beloved: “Don’t forget that your heavenly Father is saying, ‘Watch how I provide, how I move, how I open doors.’
“If He gives you the vision, He’s going to give you the provision. Don’t miss what God is doing in your life, your church, your city. The world needs something bigger. As we talk about multiplying, we want to make sure that what we’re multiplying isn’t a limping church of segregation when we could have a leaping church of Kingdom diversity.”
Inspired to dream. Ed Stetzer took the crowd to class for a historical journey of North American church-planting movements, giving examples to help leaders dream a dream others have dreamed. From Methodism founder Francis Asbury, D.L. Moody and William Seymour to Aimee Semple McPherson, John Wimber, Chuck Smith and Ralph Moore, Ed shared how these leaders trusted and sacrificed to follow Jesus’ call. “Big dreams create better tomorrows. Too many people are waiting for a pipe dream—not willing to sacrifice for God’s dream.
“The question for all of us is, ‘what’s your movement today?’”
Naming our dreams … Vision clarity strategist Will Mancini introduced us to the concept of “generic vision,” explaining that the greatest problem he sees in leadership teams pursuing a multiplication vision is the tendency to lead into the future with only a general sense of where they’re going. He challenged leaders with the reality that when we don’t name our dreams, we get too excited about the lesser things. “We don’t have a visionary problem; we have ‘imagination stuckness.’ Take the time to pursue the dream God has spoken over you and name it. Your vision’s not dynamic until it’s specific.”
HeroMaker 2018. We kicked off next year’s Exponential theme, “HeroMaker: Daring to Lead a Multiplying Church!” In 2018, we’re continuing the multiplication conversation by looking at the kind of leader it takes to dream big and lead a Level 5 multiplying church. Instead of playing the hero role, Level 5 leaders make heroes of those around them.
Join us tomorrow as Wayne Cordeiro, D.A. Horton, Kenyan movement leader Muriithi Wanjau, and Eric Mason show us how God changes our prayers and the people in our lives when we dream big! Sign up here.