Mentor churches, who have undergone the now well-known model for church growth, 40 Days of Purpose, are hosting half-day training workshops to provide information to those interested in starting a similar campaign.
In 40 days, a church baptized 671 new believers, added 1,200 new members, and increased average attendance by 2,000. The pastor of the church called it a miracle.
During those same 40 days, 2,200 previously uninvolved people volunteered to serve in a ministry of a church, and another 3,700 committed to go on missions the next year. Rick Warren, author of the Purpose-Driven Life is also the pastor of the Saddleback Church, which experienced this growth in Fall 2002.
The model used by Saddleback was made available to all churches, and since 2002, tens of thousands of churches around the world have used it and grown exponentially. The program is called The 40 Days of Purpose.
"I had never been able to get more than seven groups going all at the same time. We went from those seven groups to fifty-five groups the moment we announced it," testified Dave Holden , who wrote in to Saddleback Church to offer his gratitude.
"The 40 Days of Purpose changed everything for us. We will never be the same," he stated.
The 40 Days of Purpose, as its name suggests, directs lives towards godly purposes: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism.
Receiving a diet of the Word during Sunday sermons, weekly Bible study groups, and daily devotional readings combined with special, focused events as in a kick-off rally, a ministry fair, and the operative small group, the message of living according to God's design is reinforced.
The program works, according to Warren, because the congregation has concentrated its focus and prayers.
"It is amazing what happens when your church concentrates on the same truth at the same time," and when done so for the duration of 40 days, exponential growth can result.
The 40 day length of time has spiritual significance, says Warren. For 40 days, the Bible records that Noah endured the flood, Moses prayed on Mount Sinai, Jesus fasted in the desert, and the disciples listened to Jesus's teachings after his resurrection.
"The Bible is clear that God considers 40 days to be a spiritually significant time period. Whenever God wanted to prepare someone for his purposes, he took 40 days," explained Warren.
Duration and direction is combined in 40 Days of Purpose to create a healthy, growing, biblically-based church.