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.



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