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As we begin the new year I dare you to dream bigger than any previous year you have ever been alive! Too often we settle for status quo, mediocre and ordinary. Yuck! (I realize that may not be the best English word, but it seemed to capture my emotion at the moment!)

One of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 3:20. The Message Bible says it this way, "God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!"

That tells me that when you and I stretch ourselves to dream big for our personal life, family, and ministry, we still have not even attained to the level God operates.

I love and appreciate church growth facts and information, but I believe they are giving us a reading from the status quo. We have all heard the statistics that once you reach 80 percent capacity, it is going to be difficult to grow beyond that point.

Okay, I agree that is true in normal youth group and church USA, but not for someone who is a dreamer. Someone who can see past the normal limitations or boundaries.

The 80 percent mark is shattered every Sunday in cities across America. Facilities packed without an available seat, people waiting outside for the opportunity to get in and some even choosing to give up their seat to desperate individuals willing to pay them.

What church is it? Oh its not a church, its people cramming into stadiums to watch grown men run, hug, hold hands, and play "pile on." The key is the better the men are at doing this, the more people want to watch them. Some stadiums across the nation also sit half empty every Sunday because they are putting on a losing performance.

It really makes me wonder about our church world. There is no comparison as to what we offer and what the stadiums do. So why don't they come and pack out our auditoriums and youth facilities? The question everyone has to ask themselves is, "Are we giving them a Super Bowl, winning performance every service?"

One of the mistakes we make in church life is we try to do everything perfectly versus a few things with excellence. Whenever I have attended a professional sporting event, I have always had an uncomfortable seat, a bad view (too cheap to pay for the good one), bad food, long lines, traffic getting in and traffic getting out, plus an unusual long walk from the parking lot.

It's amazing, with all of that why do people keep coming back? No, it's not the cheerleaders! It's because of the winning performance on the field and the anticipation of a winning performance next week.

I'm tired of the excuses: "If we had new chairs, if we had a bigger, better, badder (sounds like a monster truck commercial) facility or sound system, if we had a better snack bar, or a larger parking lot." The list goes on and on.

To me it sounds a lot like people who are trying to build the kingdom with a "Martha perspective" on life rather than her sister, Mary's view on life. We can NEVER replace our time at the feet of Jesus.

Only you can truly evaluate your personal performance. Only you know whether or not you give everything you have and walk out of the youth service with nothing left. Do you coast, give some effort to get through "this one" with ambitions of preparing better for the next one?

How do I know all of this? Because I've been there myself at various times over the last 20 years. So much time was consumed on getting the "hot dogs and bleachers" ready that I didn't prepare like I should.

I ran scripture routes, made some passes, had some good runs and enemy tackles, but the end result looked a lot like the Detroit Lions this season. Hold thumb and forefinger to forehead and say, "LOSER!"

I knew whether every service was a win or a loss.

My goal is simply to challenge you. I dare you to dream! I challenge you to think bigger and to think better.

What adjustments can you make in your personal life to be sharper, hotter, and more effective? Re-ignite the fire and keep it going strong and people will come to watch you burn.

How can you improve your team's performance at each of your weekly services? Coach them to a winning attitude, winning output and a winning presentation.

What things are you doing really well? What needs to be overhauled? Which of your players do you need to increase their pay (praise, adoration, and thankfulness)? Who do you really need to cut from your leadership team?

Dream big and your teenagers will follow you. Their minds have not been diluted like some adults. How many students could be in your group in three months? How about in nine months?

If you don't count then you obviously have no vision to grow. How could you get more students into your existing facility? Bleachers? Climb out of the box of limitations and discover the unlimited God we serve!

Dean Hawk Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Dean Hawk
Web site: The Rock Family Church
Dean and Kim are the founding pastors of Rock Family Church. They have been married since 1983 and they have five adult children; Alesha and her husband, Aaron, Allyson, and Preston and his wife, Melannie. In addition, they have one grandson, Asher. Since 1981 Dean has served in the full-time ministry. Prior to starting RFC in 2004, he served as a Youth and Associate Pastor in three different churches. You will enjoy Dean's practical and illustrative teaching style as he makes the Bible come alive through both topical and verse-by-verse teachings that you can apply to everyday life. Along with his current pastoral duties, Dean is also an adjunct professor at Charis Bible College in Woodland Park. Kim serves on our Executive Team as CFO, she oversees the Children's Team and the Women's Ministry. Her energetic and contagious attitude, in addition to her love for her church family is evident. Be sure and introduce yourself, they can always be found in the lobby between services. They look forward to meeting you soon!

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