Finding a clear path through life seems to be rarity these days.  We pride ourselves in having 40 different kinds of tooth paste to choose from at any given time.  While variety is the spice of life, do we really need the choice of spearmint, peppermint, fresh mint, berry mint, cool mint, or cinimint being one that takes up a great deal of time?  It would seem that we have been cursed with the cloudiness of too many choices.

The church is no exception.  It seems like the path of discipleship in many cases is more like a choose your own adventure book where we blindly try to find our own way rather than a place where intentional discipleship is laid out in a focused and purposeful plan.

For the past couple of weeks I have been reading, searching and trying to develop a discipleship pathway for my congregation.  While this is a very daunting task for someone who has trouble focusing on even the largest details, I can see where this will become a very valuable tool.

For new folks coming through the door I can’t help but think that the pathway will give guidance and a framework that can be followed so that new members can become part of the faith community in a way that best feeds their soul.  The intent of the pathway for the new member is one that will give guidance to spiritual growth, but had enough flexibility that it can be taylored to each individual rather than teathering everyone to the same set of expectations.

For leadership talking about the pathway in a way that it becomes part of the DNA of the church is helpful in terms of keeping focused on the mission of the organization.  Keeping the pathway in sight and on the lips of conversation, the color of carpet becomes a minor issue and deepening the faith of yourself and others becomes the prime motivation.

I am excited to see where our pathway takes us as we develop it in a way that will shape things to come.

Do you have a pathway at your church or in your ministry?  I would love to hear about it.  What works and what doesn’t?

2 Replies to “Focus!”

  1. Chris,
    I work as a Ministry Coordinator in Indiana now, and we don’t really have a focus, either. We have small groups, encourage people to join or try a class or two during the year, but we struggle with how to make everyone feel “a part of the family.” At some point, it’s simply up to them. They can choose to get involved or not. But we still have that responsibility to encourage it. We’ve tried different formulas (having Adult Forums during Sunday school so that parents can attend while they’re kids are in Sunday school, providing daycare for classes during the week, mid-week daytime studies, etc.) It’s usually the same 10 to 20 people who ALWAYS attend…no matter the day or the time.
    How do we reach those who aren’t attending….and why aren’t they attending in the first place?
    Studies can tell us a lot, but in the end, I still think it’s up to the individual.
    Take care, brother,
    Scott Nellis

    1. Scott,
      great to hear from you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is a tough process and at times really discouraging when you invest so much of yourself into the success of ministry and see no discernible change. The bright side is that you have a great core of really invested poeple who are willing to go out of their way to be a part of the ministry.

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