I am going to pose two questions for you:
1) Would you rather get paid $1,000,000 up front to work for me for 30 days, or would you rather I pay you a penny on the first day and double your salary everyday thereafter for 30 days?
2) Would you rather start a Billy Graham-worthy revival or minister to one person over the course of a year?
Let’s take a look at Question 1. Likely your gut instinct told you to take the million dollars and do the work. That would be a pretty sweet deal. But if you went with the penny route, you would see a much bigger yield in your income towards the end of the 30 days. By the end of first week you would be making less than a dollar a day and by the end of the second week you would still be making less than $85 per day. By the end of the third week however, you would be making over $10,000 per day, and by day 30 you would collect over $5million dollars in one day.
Day 1: $.01
Day 2: $.02
Day 3: $.04
Day 4: $.08
Day 5: $.16
Day 6: $.32
Day 7: $.64
Day 8: $1.28
Day 9: $2.56
Day 10: $5.12
Day 11: $10.24
Day 12: $20.48
Day 13: $40.96
Day 14: $81.92
Day 15: $163.84
Day 16: $327.68
Day 17: $655.36
Day 18: $1,310.72
Day 19: $2,621.44
Day 20: $5,242.88
Day 21: $10,485.76
Day 22: $20,971.52
Day 23: $41,943.04
Day 24: $83,886.08
Day 25: $167,772.16
Day 26: $335,544.32
Day 27: $671,088.64
Day 28: $1,342,177.28
Day 29: $2,684,354.56
Day 30: $5,368,709.12
You’re probably kicking yourself right about now, wishing you had taken me up on the penny offer, aren’t you? Well, let’s take a look at Question Two. Would you rather start a Billy Graham-worthy revival or minister to one person over the course of a year?
Initially my answer would be the revival route. Billy Graham preached the gospel to as many as 215 million people in live audiences over 185 countries throughout the course of his lifetime. I don’t know how many of those people the gospel stuck with, but it’s gotta be a lot, so we’ll give him credit for at least 200 million times where he was able to be God’s mouthpiece in presenting the gospel. That sounds pretty attractional to me! In fact, it sounds pretty attractional to most churches and Christians nationally.
The typical evangelical Christian understands that their job as a Christian is to attend church regularly and invite their neighbors and friends to come with them. “If we can just get them in the door,” they think, “then they will believe in Jesus and my job is done!”
And that’s not a bad idea. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to undersell the concept of inviting friends to church—that is a valuable place of connections—but it can’t be the only, or even primary means of getting people into a relationship with Jesus.
At Parkside we have started a couple initiatives to grow the Kingdom of God. We have discipling relationships between one individual and four others with the end goal being to raise up other leaders in the church. Once we get enough leaders in the church, we can start things called Missional Communities—groups that go into the community around us and “see a need, fix a need,” bridging relationships and introducing people to Jesus at the same time.
While this can be a good model to follow, it somehow leaves me wanting more. I don’t want to just disciple Christians to be better Christians, I want to bring nonbelievers into a life-changing relationship with Jesus. And I know that there are some Christians who don’t feel called to be Leaders, so they will immediately feel intimidated by this model. Jesus commands each of us to lead, even if we aren’t Leaders (Matt 28:19), and Paul encourages each of us to lead through the witness of our daily life (1 Thess. 4:11).
So what is a more approachable model that we can use to follow these commands as presented in scripture, but in such a way that make an impact for the Kingdom of God? I propose to you, that we use the penny model.
If every year, I enter into a discipling relationship with only 1 person who doesn’t know Jesus (and spend lots of time pouring into that one individual), then over the course of 30 years, I will hopefully have led 30 people into a relationship with God. That doesn’t sound like a very tall order: invest in 30 people over the course of the next 30 years of your life, one-a-year.
But here’s what will happen:
Year 1-You disciple one person who comes to know Jesus
Year 2-Both of you disciple one person who comes to know Jesus
Year 3-All 4 of you disciple one person who comes to know Jesus
Year 4-All 8 of you disciple one person who comes to know Jesus
….do you see where this is going?
By year 30, as a direct impact of you discipling one person each year, you will have started a movement that will have reached 536,870,912 people!
Now imagine if you started with the 500 people who compose Parkside Christian Church. If each of us met with one person weekly for a year then by the end of the first year we would have 1000 Christians, who could disciple 1000 more Christians, who could reach 2000 more, then 4000 more, etc. By the end of 30 years Parkside Christian Church will have impacted 268,435,456,000 people!! I don’t know if you are aware of this, but there are only about 7 billion people on the face of the earth right now and we are talking about the potential to reach 268 billion people within 30 years. We would be able to reach 8 billion people within 25 years. By year 15 it would be difficult to find that one person you are supposed to enter into a relationship with!
So I would ask you a final couple questions:
1) Does the Kingdom need a couple more Billy Grahams or Bob Russells or do we just need you?
2) Are you ready?