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July 28th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

39 comments (+ Add)

Think Big!

My good friend and church consultant, Dr. Chand, sent me an email. At the bottom by his signature, he listed 5 ways to think. This week, I’ll expand on his five thoughts.

Think BIG!

Someone once said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

I believe one of the biggest ministry challenges in our day is small vision.

When I started our church in 1996, I dreamed of leading a church of 2000 people. My vision was way too small.

This morning I’m presenting a few ideas to our directional leaders about ways we can possibly reach a lot more people. (I’m not ready to write about these ideas. They are still in the prayer and discussion phase.)

Without intentional effort, most people tend to think small, play it safe, and avoid risks.

With God’s help, I’m going to Think BIG!

Is God honored by the size of your vision?

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there are a total of39
  1. Jul 28, 2008 at 6:08 am

    Craig, I think my biggest problem is thinking too unrealistically, having unachievable goals. Do you think vision can ever be too big?

  2. Jul 28, 2008 at 7:01 am

    Since I was a very young leader, I have been known as a risk taker, going big and not playing it safe. Currently, I am at a place of leadership maturity where I’m more calculated; however I am wired to “Think Big!”

  3. 3Judy
    Jul 28, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Great way to begin our week! Our church watched Dr. Chand during One Prayer….I am looking forward to his 5 ways to think.

  4. Jul 28, 2008 at 7:49 am

    I would like to think that I think big…at least it seems big to me! Perhaps that is the sign that I am not dreaming big enough?!

  5. Jul 28, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Just when I was feeling like everything was just peachy you go and blog about thinking big…and totally mess me up.

    Frankly, I think I’m guilty of vision shrinkage. As we get set to launch a new church, I think the vision may have been larger a year or two ago than it is today.

    Thanks Craig.

  6. Jul 28, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Another great topic Craig! I seem to be in the same boat as Jayma…I know that God wants us to be progressive and always moving forward, yet the goals I set for growth are rarely achieved. I know that church size, budgets, etc. shouldn’t matter because God is bigger than those obstacles, so I’m trying to find the wisdom in setting achievable goals, without selling myself short - easier said than done!

  7. Jul 28, 2008 at 8:12 am

    I saw Dr. Chand’s 5 ways to think. I wrote them on sticky notes and taped them all over my desk. They challenge me every day. Most of what I think about is stuff I “can” do or at least am capable of doing. I am falling short in the thinking big category. Not a great start for this week of blogs… :)

  8. Jul 28, 2008 at 8:31 am

    We serve the Creator of all things. How can we not dream big? I think it’s important that in dreaming big, we also make “big church” decisions. This can be tough, especially when toes get stepped on. We all have to let go of our pride and do the right thing for the sake of growing the Kingdom.

  9. Jul 28, 2008 at 8:44 am

    I was raised by small thinking people, and I achieved their thoughts. My husband was the opposite. As our firstborn hit the age to begin thinking of college, we had a bit of a challenge bringing our thinking together. I’m trying to hard to think bigger day by day.

  10. 11Jon
    Jul 28, 2008 at 9:18 am

    My problem is in expanding the dream. Once dreaming then being open to God making it bigger. It is scary to dream big. I am without a doubt a big dreamer but I think what you are implying is even if I am a dreamer am I still dreaming big enough? Maybe I think its a big dream but God is thinks it nothing.

    So I guess my question is…”Is there such a thing as dreaming big enough?” Can we ever truly dream as big as God?

  11. Jul 28, 2008 at 9:38 am

    If I was going to think BIG, then my dream would be to lead a college ministry of 2,000.

    Is big better? Is more better?
    How does contentment fit in?

  12. 14jim
    Jul 28, 2008 at 10:01 am

    One thing in this I would do it recommend Wide Awake by Erwin McManus. Excellent book that hits this topic head on.

    Second thing I would say that if I shoot for the stars and miss I might hit the moon. If I shoot for the moon and I miss I hit nothing.

    I think that God’s dreams and visions for us are much larger than anything we could ever imagine.

  13. Jul 28, 2008 at 10:10 am

    “Think Big, or Go Home” I always liked that saying. With God all things are possible. Thanks for the encouragement Craig. I don’t think there will ever be an end to how large a vision can grow here on earth.

  14. Jul 28, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks heaps for the encouraging post.

    HERE IS MY QUESTION…

  15. Jul 28, 2008 at 10:49 am

    We serve a very BIG GOD!! If what we think we can achieve for God can only happen when we have all the resources and answers lined up then it probably is not from God. In the natural Peter could never have walked on water and he was a seasoned veteran of the sea. Only when he focused on Jesus and trusted Him could he accomplish something supernatural. God doesn’t only want us to dream big for Him but I believe He actually wants to DO big things thru us (SUPERnatural) if we take a step of faith and believe that with God all things are possible. Go God!!

  16. Jul 28, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks heaps for the encouraging post.

    HERE IS MY QUESTION…

    For every Life Church, Willow, Northpoint etc, how many churches do the THINK BIG thing and don’t see a positive result.

    So many of us have read Good to Great, and Now Discover Your Strengths. But it seems to me that this is a study of organisations or people that succeed. How many organisations or people follow the same principles and don’t succeed.

    I am not disagreeing with the ‘THINK BIG’ principle. It is obviously common amongst all who succeed. But does this principle do damage to those who don’t have your kind of leadership etc.

    Mark

  17. Jul 28, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Big is relative. What is big to us is small to God, what is normal to us is minute to God. What is normal to God is gargantuan to us.

    When we realise that we will strive to think as ‘big’ as we can, because God can do it. The main barriers are in our mind. Our refusal to think it hinders our ability to believe God for it, consequently we do not have it.

    I see it more as thinking God’s thoughts and him transforming me to the point where nothing seems particularly big, just normal God stuff. And God wants to do normal God stuff on the earth.

    Yes, big is always better if it means more people get saved, more people get plugged in to God, insofar as it is what God requires of you personally.

  18. Jul 28, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Just correcting the website, thanks

  19. Jul 28, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Contentment fits in that the results truly are not up to us. Sure, we play a part. But, for each one that it takes five touches for.. others it may take many, many more. We’re to be available regardless. Ex: Yesterday I had seven in mine and hubby’s college class. I was content. Only seven? 6 others are on a mission trip to Philly. And the seven who were there? One thought about leaving after the service was over, but didn’t… One was her first time there EVER and said she’d be back next week. The individual who brought her - well, she has only been really involved the last few months. When I asked her if I was pushing the group too hard - she responded, “No, keep it up. You’re making us think about God in ways we normally wouldn’t.”

    While there is no doubt about the leadership of you, Craig, and numerous others…. where I think the real rub comes in is not asking God to show you how to be the leader(ship) He wants you to be where you are at. It is going to look different and it should. When we get over being like this person or that - then the real work in our lives can begin. And watch it for how He can use it and us…..

  20. Jul 28, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I don’t think I do think big enough…since I am still young I used to feel I had to think small (in relation to impact), but now, oh now, I see that I MUST think big! Plan big!

    I shouldn’t think any other way…because then that would be telling God - “this is how big I see you can use me.”…and it would mean it in a negative way.

    I am now going to say to Him “this is how big I see you can use me” and think positively, bigger than big. Think the way God does…that is, see with no hindrance on my visibility level. For example, in a metaphoric sense, when I look out my window I am going to see all of earth, not just what is in front of me.

    Thanks for blessing us with the knowledge you’ve gathered Craig!

  21. 24Judy
    Jul 28, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Mark …the author of Good to Great was concerned about his concepts working in the church, he said this during a conversation with Andy Stanley….but…some of them do…no one has a formula…it is more like a puzzle with everyone contributing to the picture…BUT ALWAYS THINK BIG…IT COULDN’T HURT

  22. Jul 28, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    My dream is to fill
    Reynolds Stadium with people every Sunday morning. And for God to invoke change in every one of their lives.

  23. Jul 28, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Here’s my question -

    Are we supposed to think big? Or are we just supposed to do what we know to do, and let God do the big thinking for us?

  24. Jul 28, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    What if God has called you to shepherd a small flock and you spend your whole life running after numbers when He just wanted you to be faithful to the job He gave you. When do numbers become idolatry. I fear that some pastors remove their eyes from Jesus and place all of their focus on people. Not that people are bad but when your whole ministry is focused on pleasing people instead of pleasing God, i think you have missed the point. So i would say dream big, but more importantly keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and plead with your people to repent and believe the beautiful gospel of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. thanks craig. i hope the Lord has blessed you with rest.

    love and justice
    brandon

  25. Jul 28, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Hi Craig and everyone.
    This is a topic that’s really close to my heart right now. I’m a big vision person with a small church plant (80 people) even after 6 years. Recently I watched RSVP (a DVD by T.D. Jakes) who suggests that our visions can be a burden to us. I certainly know what that’s like!

    My vision is massive but I have become easily frustrated in the past with lack of growth. I’m starting to chill out a bit about it now and realise that firstly, God wants to save those in my city more than I do and secondly that He has a purpose and plan for my church right now at our current size. I’m starting to learn to enjoy where we’re at right now without beating myself up continually about my church not growing. God’s teaching me to be content but yet to still push forward and work with Him to build his church.

    I keep telling myself it’s NOT all about numbers but every number represents a person. I know that faithfulness is key (as is empowering leadership and stacks of other things (see http://www.nadei.org/article.php?id=3 for NCD 8 Quality Characteristics) and so I’m learning to be content with what I have and hold it more lightly. Does anyone else know what I’m talking about? Would love to hear thoughts.

  26. Jul 28, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Just adding something:
    When I read Matthew 28:19-20 recently I realised that Jesus wasn’t talking about seeing a group of disciples in each nation… but he was talking about the nations! “Make disciples of all nations” he said. How can our dreams be anything less than this colossal vision?! God wills that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Our dream should be the same, balanced with the understanding that not all will follow the path. (Matt 7:13)

  27. 30Judy
    Jul 28, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Brandon….I think where you may be off topic of the blog, is that Criag is not talking about pleasing people but REACHING people…Craig may want to correct me….after 24 years I have learned you can’t please people but you should always try to reach them for Jesus.

  28. 31Jason Kreitzer
    Jul 28, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    Jonathan-

    I think that God always wants our participation, even if it is in prayer only, this is the beautiful part about having a God who we can talk to and who listens to us. As soon as we sit and wait for God to do all the action, that’s when we become stale in our lives and our faith. We need to get in the game. We need to get out of our comfort zones; even if we are just talking about thinking.

    I think the best lyrics that I have heard is from a Pillar song, “For the Love of the Game.” This song talks about the game as being our Christian faith. Just like an athlete has to put forth effort to win, we have to put forth the effort to win people to Christ. Remember the saying, “No pain, no gain?” The rules still apply in thinking. We will not achieve greatness if we do not think BIG through Christ.

    Here are some of the lyrics to the song:
    “Fight through the hurt,
    Fight through the pain,
    Without the ache there is no gain,
    We live our lives for the love of the game
    We’ll give this everything we’ve got,
    For the love of the game.”

  29. 32Barry Armstrong
    Jul 29, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Great discussion! I think there is a balance that God wants to speak to us. Some people get a great vision and follow it. i believe that God wants us to get a great vision and follow HIM! When we CARRY the vision while choosing not to take our eyes of Christ, we keep our priorities straight and the Lord can bless what we put our hands to do. hey! His thoughts are so far above our thoughts, how can we go wrong if we dream big while keeping our eyes on him?

  30. Jul 29, 2008 at 10:56 am

    I’m finding in my experience that the only place to be is in His protection plan. Most days, wake up praying, “God, today I am your sheep and you are my Sheppard” and then I go out and take some risks knowing that my Sheppard is there to protect, guide and speak to me in a whisper. I want to hear His voice through His Word, His people, His promises. I want nothing more than to risk it all for Him! - Jack

  31. Jul 29, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    It seems to me that vision has to have 2 parts: one static set of “guidlines” and one dynamic element that’s always looking for ways to “implement”.

    (technology)… (music)… (what’s happening now) stuff will shape our implementation and sometimes expand vision unintentionally… more fun when it happens on purpose I imagine… But then what? Do you adjust the vision?

    Anyway. All that considered. Does building a dynamic element in your vision provide the latitude for progressive thought? Or am I combining thoughts that don’t play well together?

  32. Jul 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    I love what you’ve said there Barry. Great work. I think I’m getting that now… that God wants to give us a great vision and follow Him… not just the vision.
    I think I’ve been compromising on Him in the pursuit of His vision. Wow… what a great smack in the head!
    The other aspect I’m realising is that the dream is meant to outlast us. Heb 11:39 says, ‘These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what was promised.’ Their dream outlasted them, went longer than they did… that’s what I think dreaming is about. Pursuing God with a dream that others get on board with which outlasts you all but creates a brighter future after you’re all gone.

  33. 36Barry Armstrong
    Jul 30, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Darren said, “the dream is meant to outlast us.” that is a great point. it puts into relief the idea that the vision is not really ours, anyway. just like all the other talents and resources he has given, We are just stewards of them and they truly belong to him. Sometimes we call our project our “baby,” and that is fine, as long as we remember that our children are his, too.

  34. Aug 1, 2008 at 7:30 am

    What a wonderful reminder of the greatness of God and the smallness of mankind. Just lastnight I was reading Numbers; the Israelites had been griping about eating Manna day after day. They wanted something they could sink their teeth into, (isn’t that just like us). Meanwhile, the Lord heard their cries - although He wasn’t pleased. Moses worried; how can You feed them meat? There’s nothing in sight for miles. God’s response is something we should all keep in mind, “Has the Lord’s arm been shortened?”

  35. Aug 1, 2008 at 11:03 am

    [...] Craig on thinking big [...]

  36. Apr 17, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    [...] I would convince church leaders to DREAM SMALL!  The last thing I would want would be people realizing that God is honored by people who really do believe that He can do the impossible!  (Craig had an AWESOME post on this!) [...]