My mind is stuffed! Exponential is a conference held every year in Orlando. It is the largest gathering of church planters on the planet. I sit with 4,500 other pastors and church planters in First Baptist Church of Orlando to listen to some of the world’s best orators. Their information is enriching, empowering, useful, and proven. I only have several pages of information to look back on to memorize in order to be just as fruitful back in Raleigh.

This conference is intense. I’ve been learning about different church plant models, how to craft and present vision, different discipleship paths, etc., etc., etc. Sitting at the feet of church planting experts is exhausting! The mind is constantly turning and churning as it tries to absorb, process, and figure out how to apply this information. The information is exponential!

Yes, there is a lot of information, but it’s also been convicting. It’s impossible to try to capture everything, but hopefully these quotes below will give you a sense of what we’ve been invited to chew on for the last couple of days:

“Teachers hate big classrooms because only 20% learn through auditorium lecturing. Why is it that all pastors want what teachers hate?” Jim Putman

“Lives of godliness is worth following.” Tim Keller

“We are more concerned about our public image than private devotions. We are more concerned about bringing people in than bringing glory to God.” Craig Groeschel

“You are the sum total of your relationships.” Chris Hodges

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Information does not transform, relationships do.” Chris Hodges

“It’s easier to duplicate than incarnate.” Chris Hodges

When Tim Kellers says that godliness is worth following, I need to grow in godliness. I need to set up the spiritual muscles necessary to remember that any hint of success is by the sovereign work of God and His all-powerful grace. Any giftedness I may have is by the sovereign work of God and His all-powerful grace. I need to grow in abiding in that grace and daily dwell in personal discipleship.

That takes work.

Craig Groeschel said, “The things that no one sees results in the things that everyone wants.” I’ll give you an example of what this means. Think of a well-trimmed 60 year old. There is not a square inch of fat on this person. All of us would say that we would like to be that fit when we’re 60. Those reading this over 60, just think of the age 80. What we don’t see about that 60 year old is all the blood, sweat, and tears it took to go to the gym at 6:00am. I didn’t see them eat beans over bacon, or bananas over beef. I don’t see all the small steps of smart living that produced a healthy, in-shape 60 year old. Thus the quote: the things that no one sees results in the things that everyone wants.

I want to serve God. I want to be someone whom people will want to follow because they do discover a godliness worth following. Yes, I want what some of these ‘successful’ planters have achieved, but that does not come about without the things no one sees. That means daily, bite sized, faithful, and consistent shifts towards godliness in my own life that will create the results (fruit!) I want people to see. Jesus was all about inviting a people to follow him who bear fruit. James wrote some pretty harsh words about that to

So if I am going to grow exponentially as a disciple of Jesus, and if that growth will translate into followers who want to experience the same growth, it means I must daily invest in the things no one sees. That’s a challenge for all of us as we daily invest in the things no one sees. In that daily investment, we also begin to want the things of God as well. Pure desire through daily discipleship. That’s the Spirit’s work in us.

4,500 church planters at
Exponential 2013 singing from their hearts as the conferences comes to a close.