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  • Apr20Fri

    Think Big. Start Small. Go Deep.

    Before we accomplish great things for God, we need to focus on our own spiritual health. April 20, 2012 by Major Danielle Strickland
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought
    Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators discipleship program, used a slogan to fuel his movement: Think big. Start small. Go deep. It's something I read very early in my ministry and it resonated within me. The problem I've discovered in most people's lives is not their inability to dream or to envision—we've got vision statements and dreamers aplenty. The real crunch happens when our dreams hit reality—we've got to figure out a strategy for our dreams in order to see them come to fruition.

    If we are praying for God's Kingdom to be on earth as it is in Heaven, we have to take our dreams and visions (particularly the ones that Jesus spelled out for us) and actually make them happen in the here and now. We need a strategy for this side of Heaven. This is where Trotman's little slogan becomes very useful.

    One of the obstacles in achieving our vision is that we often dismiss the “smallness” of starting the work required to make it happen. The Incarnation (when Jesus was born as a baby in Bethlehem) is a great example of starting small. It doesn't get much smaller than a poor family looking for shelter in a little town and bringing a baby into the world. The vision, of course, was to save the world, but the strategy began with one small child, a woman and a man who were obedient to God, and a few scraggly shepherds. If you didn't know the outcome, you would think the strategy was a failure. And, if you were to look ahead and see Jesus hanging on a cross between two thieves, you'd be tempted to think that God should have started with a different strategy.

    One of the keys to God's strategies is that his Kingdom is often made up of the very things we can't see. The epistles tell us that Jesus made a spectacle of the enemy the day he offered his life as the way of salvation for the rest of us. Jesus' death was part of the divine strategy to overcome evil, break the curse and free humanity and creation from the enemy's grasp forever. Think big. Start small. Go deep.

    When The Salvation Army decided to open fire in India in 1882, they announced their vision: The Salvation Army will invade India. When the Salvation Army pioneer officers showed up at the arrival pier of the dock in India, the Royal British Army was there to meet them, expecting that they were about to be invaded by armed force. But what they saw shocked them: Frederick Booth-Tucker leading a small ragtag group of mostly young women officers and soldiers, dressed in local attire and armed with Bibles and the experience of their salvation.

    This was the invasion? This was the strategy? Yes. And it followed the incarnational pattern of our Saviour's ministry.

    They wanted to win India for Jesus (think big). They started with a small team of willing soldiers and officers (start small). And they gave their whole lives, health and futures to the cause (go deep). The strategy was blessed by God as every “boom march” (open-air proclamation of the gospel) led to whole towns and villages coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, thousands of Indian Salvationists were raised up to lead the charge to win the world for God. Today, India is one of the strongest countries in the Salvation Army world and the vision continues.

    I'm not sure if you have a strategy for your vision, but I'd like to suggest one. On Facebook and other social media networks, a number of Salvationists have recently engaged in DISCO. No, it's not a dance, although that's not a bad metaphor for discipleship. DISCO is short for discipleship covenant—when a small group of Christians connect with each other for accountability and intentional discipleship.

    There is no set curriculum. Every person determines their own goals and intentions and shares with the group about their progress and struggles every week. Each of the members take turns sharing and dreaming and talking about how they are making that a daily reality in their lives. They pray together and offer their support. It's a game changer.

    Seems small, doesn't it? But imagine if all of God's people thought big (had a vision for changing the whole world), started small (began focusing on their daily habits and practices) and went deep (showed a willingness to be accountable to others). I think DISCO could really change the world.

    So, connect with a friend or two on Facebook, by e-mail or in person and covenant together for a period of one to three months to support and hold each other accountable.

    Together with her husband, Major Stephen Court, Major Danielle Strickland is the corps officer of Edmonton's Crossroads Community Church. She has a personal blog at

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