I was privileged to visit Northpoint’s new Browns Bridge Campus a few months back. This is an amazing story–brand new 3,000 seat auditorium filled twice on Sunday morning. How do they do that?
Part of the answer, or course, is that a whole lot of people came from the main campus at Northpoint. They live in this area. They get Northpoint and it is closer. But, I have been to the main campus in the last year as well. It looked full too. How do they do that?
Here is an amazing thing. At Browns Bridge, they don’t even have a preacher. Six thousand people show up every weekend (my estimate) to watch Andy on a big screen. Go figure. How do they do that?
Now, it is a really cool big screen. Three big screens, actually. One huge screen of the entire stage that duplicates the stage at Northpoint. It is very nearly life size. I think if Andy were standing on the stage he would be within an inch or two of the size of that image. Then, there are two IMAG close-up images of Andy (and sometimes PowerPoint) on the side screens, just like you would see in the main auditorium. It is difficult to describe, but the illusion is so real I have actually had people tell me they attended and didn’t realize Andy was not in the house. (I wonder if they could do this with Elvis!) How do they do that?
Northpoint is the king of cool
Like a lot of fast growing churches, Northpoint is the king of cool. The building is cool. The music is cool. The graphics are cool. The video is cool. Waumba Land is cool. Northpoint is the king of cool.
I wrote about this in a couple of other articles. One deals with verse that says man looks at the outside; God looks at the heart. If you want to please God, guard your heart. If you want to reach man, pay some attention to externals. http://www.joshhunt.com/mail222.htm The other articles is on the Cool Factor. Access it here: http://www.joshhunt.com/mail156.htm
Northpoint is not THAT cool
Notwithstanding the utter coolness of Northpoint, I walked out saying to myself, “They are not THAT cool.” They are not cool enough to explain how you can fill a 3,000 auditorium twice in a church that is less than a year old. No one is that cool. How do they do that?
There are, no doubt, a number of reasons, but I’d like to focus your attention on one. Andy stands up regularly before his people and says, “I am in a group that is doubling; I want you to be in a group that is doubling.” I have caught him five times saying, “I am in a group that is doubling; i want you to get in a group that is doubling. (I actually have all five on my hard disk in either audio or video format; I sometimes play all five when I am speaking to pastors and have some time to work with.)
He said it again just recently. Buzz on over to www.Northpoint.org and peck around till you find the sermon called Bridging the Gap (or Filling the Gap; I saw both names). In that sermon you will find Andy say again, “I am in a group that is doubling; I want you to be in a group that is doubling.”
I have probably been on the road too long and out of local church work too long, because it is all starting to look simple. I didn’t say easy; simple. Driving from Anaheim, California to Jacksonville, Florida is simple–just get on I-10 and head East. In about 4 days you will be there. Simple, but not easy. If you are a pastor and want to start a doubling group movement in your church, just stand before your people about twice a year and say, “I am in a group that is doubling; i want you to be in a group that is doubling.” It is not easy, but it is simple.
I had a pastor ask me recently, “How can I do that, I preach during both the Sunday School hours.” I had never actually thought of this answer before this moment, but we have a thing in Sunday School called auxiliary members. These are members of an adult class that teach kids. They are enrolled in the kids class as a teacher, but they are an auxiliary member of the adult class. That way they are invited to all the parties and events of the adult class and don’t have to give up group life to teach kids. Pretty cool idea.
I suggested to this pastor that he do that–join the class your wife attends and help that group grow. Help that group double and then stand before your people and say, “I am in a group that is doubling; I want you to be in a group that is doubling.”
Another approach would be for the pastor to teach the teachers on Sunday night or Wednesday night. In this scenario the Pastor’s group is a group of teachers. The doubling aspect is a little more difficult in this scenario, but you get the advantage of being able to pour your life into men who make disciples of the whole church. Sounds a little like Jesus to me. I have written a number of lessons to help you with this. http://www.joshhunt.com/teacher.htm If you go with this approach, I wouldn’t recommend you do all the teaching. I wouldn’t even recommend you do most of the teaching. Let each teacher take a turn. Your presence and leadership is what is important.
My dream is to fan the flames of a doubling group movement in this country and beyond. In order to see that, we need pastors like Andy Stanley who will regularly stand before their people and say, “i am in a group that is doubling; I want you to be in a group that is doubling.