I was sitting in a little Mexican restaurant about a year after myself and some friends from college started Community Christian Church. I was thinking back how our team a few years before, in college dreamed of reaching all of Chicago, our home town. Now, we knew that we could never reach all 8 million people with 1 location. So we put a map of Chicago on the bulletin board of our dorm room and took a black magic marker and drew a line north and south and a second line east and west dividing the city up into four quadrants. I put the names of myself and three buddies in each of the four quadrant and said, “Ok, we each take a section of the city and we can reach the whole city”. I was pretty naïve.
But thinking about those college days got me dreaming again. So, I got out a napkin and started drawing Lake Michigan, and then Chicago… But this time instead of four quadrants I began drawing circles all over Chicago, each representing a different site of a church. I sat and stared at that napkin wondering if that dream could come true. After staring and wondering for a long time I took that napkin and tucked it into my Franklin Dayplanner. And that napkin stayed in that Dayplanner for the next 4 years. I didn’t show that napkin with my dream on it to anyone. The dream was tucked away under thing-to-do lists for years.
Then I had breakfast with a guy named Larry, a very successful entrepreneur who had started several businesses. During breakfast Larry asked me, “So Dave, what is the dream; if you could do anything what would you do?” To me that is a very personal question. But he didn’t just ask me once. He continued to ask me, “Dave, what is the dream?” And for the first time in 4 years I pulled out that napkin, showed it to him and I said, “If I could do anything, this is what I’d do.” I went on to explain that I wondered if it was possible to have one church that met in multiple locations that could reach a whole city. He gave me the courage to share my dream.
Then Larry said something that was simple but absolutely life-changing! He looked me in the eye and said, “Dave, you can do it!” It was like a trigger switched on for me when he said those words, “You can do it!” Suddenly something that was relegated to a dream that I would never talk about was now possible. Wow!
I share that story with you because hearing those four words changed my life and my ministry. I am convinced that one of my primary tasks as a leader is to discover other peoples dreams; look them in the eye and say, “YOU CAN DO IT! YOU CAN DO IT!” Those are the four most powerful words.