Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Wall v.2.0

If you are a regular to the weblog, you may have seen a post back in December (Discipleship Pathway from the Underside) in which I posted the following photo of The Pathway to Discipleship as laid out on the wall of my office.

It has grown and changed a bit (and someone insisted I get a giant bulletin board.) Last night I tore it all down and started over. Here is v.2.0:

The picture is pretty small but there are a couple of things that stand out. Besides being neater and cleaner, it is actually complete. Also, you can't see this very well in the photo, but there is green string connecting the pieces of the pathway with uchoose cards and response letters. A new addition to my wall is the red ribbon. The red ribbon represents the biggest difficulty in the pathway. A pathway to discipleship would be really easy to implement if everyone followed it in a linear fashion, never pausing, stopping or getting derailed. But people are people. People sign up for stuff and don't take it. People finish one phase and then take some time to ponder the next phase. People take a break between phases to be involved in some other learning opportunity or ministry. There is nothing wrong with any of this. However it makes it more complicated to encourage people in their journey because it becomes more complicated to know where they are. So the red ribbon simply marks when people divert. If someone takes our introduction class (uconnect 101) but doesn't choose to fill out a uchoose card to begin the pathway, we want to check with them to be sure that they are involved in some ministry or small group. If someone signs up for a course on a uchoose card but doesn't show up, we want to give them options for another course or see if they got plugged into something else.

Whenever I talk or write about tracking systems like this, someone always tells me that it sounds legalistic. I understand the fear behind that. However, we are not mandating that people follow any certain pathway. We are just remembering our responsibility to make disciples. I do not believe it is okay for someone to join our fellowship of faith and then be told, "you are on your own." We have a responsibility to help them gain the tools they need to begin their journey of sanctification, their journey of discipleship. In a large system like University, where I can't possibly keep track of everyone's journey in my head, we need a system to help us do that.

If you have questions about The Pathway to Discipleship, whether you are a University member of someone interested in implementation in your own church, feel free to post them here or email me.



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beginning to hit critical mass

This has been a good couple of weeks for the Pathway to Discipleship. Here is a list of pathway offerings that have been taking place over the last two weeks.


Alpha: Pop Culture – began Monday
Jesus 101 – ending tonight


New Testament Survey: The Message of Jesus – ended last night
Disciple Bible Study – going on through May


Coaches Directed Study – There are three studies currently underway
The Walk to Emmaus – We had people on a walk this past weekend

I had Michael run the numbers and he figured out that over the span of this week and last we have about 110 people actually engaged in courses in the Pathway to Discipleship. There are an additional 30 or so who are actively involved in the pathway, have signed up for the next step and are just waiting for it to start. We also have a number of people in the pathway who are still deciding what they are going to do next.

These are fantastic results for so early in this process. It takes a long time to implement a system like this and it takes even longer for it to become part of the culture of how a church does things. But we are getting there.



Thursday, March 12, 2009


I had the opportunity to preach in our traditional service this past Sunday on the fun and easy topic of exorcism. If you care to listen, you can listen to or download the podcast here:




Monday, March 9, 2009

A Little Swamped

The number of posts on my weblog is often a good reflection of the state of my ministry. When there are large gaps between posts, it is usually a good sign that I am swamped. The weblog is pretty important to me. It is more than just something for people to read. It forces me to think and reflect at a level a little higher than just the long to-do list in front of me. So, when there is a lack of posts, it sometimes means that I have not been able to get my head out of the tasks at hand. That is not too bad for short lengths of time, but if I go too long without time to think about the big picture it starts to create a downward spiral of creativity. The "right now" tasks seem to get harder to do and take more and more time - meaning there is even less time to get out of the weeds.

According to my calendar and to-do list, once I get through this week, I will get to come up for air. If you start seeing some more posts, you will know I made it.