Today marks the 5-year anniversary of the day I broke a Guinness World Record for the Longest Speech Marathon. It was one of my all-time favorite memories in life. Not only did I preach for 53 hours and 18 minutes through the entire Bible, but through this event, we raised more than $110,000 for a local charity called Hand in Hand. This money allowed them to purchase a recovery home for men going through addiction. Since then, Hand in Hand has opened up a second home and also manages a women’s and children’s home as well. It’s a blessing to know that this event played a huge part in the history of an organization that continues to change lives!
It was so amazing to get to share with all of these news organizations about this event! The world record weekend and the aftermath of the news really helped unify and grow our church. We became known as the church that would do anything for the cause of Jesus and to help our community! Not a bad thing to be known for!
Five years later, I am disappointed in one thing. I was hoping that this world record would cause other like-minded disciples of Jesus to attempt world records for the name of Jesus and to help local communities. Sadly, this hasn’t panned out.
So today, I want to challenge you to break a world record. Here’s a checklist of the 5 things you need to break a world record:
Breaking a world record is a huge, daunting task. Some world records may be more difficult than others. But think about what a world record is. A world record comes after literally doing something better, faster, or greater than anyone who has ever lived. That requires crazy faith!
I’ve always thought disciples of Jesus ought to have an advantage when it comes to breaking world records. Because we believe in a BIG God. Jesus even said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Disciples of Jesus have a faith that says, “I know I can’t do this, but with God on my side, all things are possible.”
Truthfully, I had no idea if I had the chops to break the world record for the longest speech ever. In fact, months prior when I declared that I was attempting to break the world record it stood at 35 hours. By the time I went for it, it was up to 48 hours. That was scary to me. I felt like I could skip sleeping once, but twice? I had some real doubts. I had never spoken for more than an hour prior to that. But I was excited to step into the unknown. And what I found out is the unknown is the place where you truly experience the Holy Spirit’s comfort and power in a way that you otherwise wouldn’t experience.
So you’ve got the faith. Now you need the idea.
Though we are all wired a bit differently, one thing God gives to each of us is creativity! God is the Creator of the World, and we are made in His image. Use the creativity that He’s given to you to come up with an idea. You likely will think of ideas that I never could have come up with because we are all different from one another.
The best ideas come from a place of meeting a need.
My original idea I had was birthed from a desire to teach the Bible to my church. Many that were coming to the church didn’t truly understand about God and so my desire was to give them a crash course of the Bible in one weekend. Isaiah 55:11 says,
“my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
I was feeling pretty good that even if my world record attempt fell short, I was giving God an amazing opportunity through His Word to reach a lot of people.
So what needs can you meet? In your church? In your community?
Even though the Guinness certificate has my name on it, make no mistake about it, this record was a massive team effort! We had more than a couple hundred people give so much time to this world record effort.
The picture above is of one valuable member of our team, Steve Scharf, who stayed the entire time of the speech to help livestream the event. Steve is one of many that made this event possible.
I’ve always believed that vision is important. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people will perish.” But when you give people a big vision, a vision much larger than yourself, you will find people will step up in incredible ways. It’s also a great opportunity to find new committed and dedicated people to add to your team.
The hardest part about the Guinness world record speech was not preaching 53 hours and 18 minutes. It was organizing teams of people months beforehand that were tasked to fill hundreds of time slots for people coming to the event (good luck finding someone to sign up for a 2AM-6AM shift), organizing people to ensure we were appropriately following all the rules set by Guinness (there is a lot of red tape), organizing logistics, building a team that would livestream the event, etc.
I remember a few people that served on the team that still say this event was one of the highlights of their lives. Not only were they being a part of something bigger than themselves, but friendships have blossomed from this event that are still alive and well today!
If you are going to set a world record, having the right team around you is crucial.
As cool as it is to say I own a world record, I am much prouder of the fact that we raised a lot of money for a local charity. The world record that I set has now been broken, but the lives of the people that Hand in Hand is impacting is still changing lives today.
There are a lot of great ideas for fundraisers but I believe that breaking a world record is a category of fundraiser that could be extremely successful that is largely untapped.
Because of the success of the first world record and how God used it to bless our church and community, I’ve tried thinking of other ideas to break more world records. We actually attempted another world record attempt two years after the Longest Speech Ever. We attempted to break the record for the World’s Largest Potluck. We gathered about 1000 people and even though we didn’t break the record, it was an incredibly unifying event for our church and we were able to raise more than $35,000 to give to a local food pantry. Not bad for a failed world record attempt!
- Thick Skin
Some people in the leading up to the event just don’t get it. Some are inspired by a world record, but others will think you are crazy, weird, and potentially even a self-promoter.
After the event took place and we raised more than $110,000 for a charity, there were still people that accused this event of self-promotion and called this world record attempt a gimmick.
Whenever you attempt something new or try something crazy you will have a group of people that will take shots at you. I’m okay looking crazy for God.
I believe it’s worth taking the risk to do new and creative, faith-filled, big-thinking things to take the Good News of Jesus out into the world. And I will never apologize for making it easy for people to hear the Good News of Jesus.
Through this so-called “gimmick” here’s a few things that happened:
- A church was unified and grew through the process
- The Word of God preached for 53+ hours and thousands of people hearing the Gospel
- Over $110,000 raised for a charity that’s still changing lives today
- Life-long friendships formed from the people that served that weekend
- We received a reputation in the community that will do anything for Jesus
- In a world filled with bad news, this good news went everywhere
If you are someone who is willing do something different and effective for the cause of Jesus Christ, I challenge you to break a world record!
And if you have read through this and a world record is not something that you want to shoot for, here’s my challenge to you.
Do something BIG for Jesus Christ. Something that requires faith, an idea, teamwork, a cause, and thick skin.
Jesus has been too good to us for us to just sit back.
P.S. If you are serious about breaking a world record, reach out to me here, and I’d love to share more with you.