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Do ‘big’ dreams make a difference?

All things are possible to him who believes! (Mark 9:23 ESV)

Does believing for big things make a difference in our walk with God?

Well, a recent survey conducted by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) has concluded that thinking big makes a difference when it comes to church planting and church growth, Christian Post reports.

The ECFA conducted a survey of new church plants in order to determine the best strategies for growth. Many of these involved plants by larger multi-site churches and other denominations.

One aspect that the survey uncovered is that the group’s vision of success does seem to make a difference in how successful the church will ultimately be.

The study came to this conclusion after comparing the end results of those groups who expected their church would multiply by ten times in five years, with those who did not believe their church would multiply in five years.

The survey found that those who had big dreams grew ten times faster than those who didn’t

While the big-vision churches reported an annual growth rate of 10%, this compared to only a .3% yearly growth rate for those who didn’t.

It seems dreaming big makes a difference.

But other factors played a role as well.

The survey found that 83% of the churches reporting a weekly attendance of 500 or more in 2022 started the work with a full-time pastor. In comparison, in churches with lower attendance, only 52% to 55% started with a full-time pastor.

However, the willingness to invest in a full-time pastor may also signify to some extent the group’s expectation of success for the work.

The Bible tells us that our vision or dreams can actually impact our behavior. It affects what we do and how we approach life.

The writer of Proverbs tells us:

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
But happy is one who keeps the Law.
(Proverbs 29:18 NASV)

The Hebrew word for vision, châzôn, means to see beyond what we can physically see. It speaks of having dreams and revelations of what can potentially happen.

But the verse adds that without this type of vision, people dwell carelessly or live unrestrained lives. The Hebrew word, pâra‛, translated unrestrained, means to let loose and to go naked (literally to take off your clothes).

And this same word is used to describe the Hebrews after they thought that Moses had died while he was receiving the ten commandments (Exodus 32:1-2).

The people had lost their vision of Jehovah’s plans for them and demanded that Aaron make them a golden calf. And we are told that they began to pâra‛. The Old King James says that they actually got naked and began to dance (Exodus 32:25).

When people do not have a personal vision, they live unrestrained lives. And if a lack of vision can cause this, I suspect that the size of our vision similarly impacts our behaviour to varying degrees.

Bigger dreams can impact our dedication and commitment to the work. They also help us push through difficult times.

After the Jews had been taken into captivity in Babylon, God came to them in their darkest hour to tell them that He still had a plan for each one of them:

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

Even despite their failure, God still had a purpose for these captive Jews and some, like Daniel, embraced this vision and flourished.

God has a purpose and plan for all our lives. They are larger than most of us realize, and we need to believe for big things.

READ: Church plants that expect to ‘multiply’ have greater chance of growing more rapidly: survey

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