Where am I in my Journey?

Where am I in my Journey?

In the development of disciple-making culture and writing Small Church on a Big Mission: Cultivating Missional Discipleship in smaller churches, there were countless occasions of reflection and discussion when I took the time to stop and assess where I was in my journey as a disciple of Jesus Christ.  The first section of the book shares a bit of my journey of Personal Transformation.

In the second section of the book, I focus on Practical Realities of the journey.  The first chapter of this section is about Position – Recognizing where I am I my journey

Seeking to grow and improve during my business years, I had completed a number of self-assessments as well as a few gift and disciple assessments as lay leader in the church. In the pastorate, however, while I had invested lots of time in reading and teaching God’s Word, I really hadn’t done much reflection on my continuing journey as a disciple of Jesus. In short, I began to wonder if the shape of my life was reflective of the shape of Jesus’ life.

Disciple Self-Assessment

To address this need, our small church developed a simple self-assessment for disciples. The purpose of the assessment was to identify their current position as a disciple and then to help them develop their own plan for moving forward as God directed.

In developing the assessment, we applied a bit of innovation using the character and competency questions provided in the appendix of Mike Breen’s book Building a Discipling Culture. The character and competency questions invite disciples to consider where they are in three dimensions that Jesus demonstrated in his life and ministry of: UP, IN, & OUT.

At Faith Community Church, we often speak about the three-dimensional life of a disciple using the words Reflection, Relationships, and Responsibility. We also use the below as a picture of what the Jesus shaped life of a disciple looks like.

As disciples complete the self-assessment, they are able tto reveal the shape of their life in the dimensions of Up, In, and Out (see the triangle at the right).

With their personal discipleship triangle revealed, the disciple can reflect and discuss with others the questions where they scored the lowest as they develop a plan for their continuing journey as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

We’ve included this assessment in Appendix #1 of Small Church on a Big Mission: Cultivating Missional Discipleship in small churches

Where am I on the Journey?

In closing, let me challenge you to identify where you are as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Do you know your shape as a 3-dimensional disciple of Jesus? Specifically, do you have a plan to grow in the under-developed areas of your character and competency?

God loves you so much that he accepts you just the way you are. God knows exactly where you are at this moment as a disciple of Jesus Christ. As leaders in Christ’s church, we cannot expect others to follow us and go to a place where we have never been before.  So take the first step and determine where you are at in the journey.

To learn more about Resources and Coaching related to Small church on a BIG Mission – go to www.smallchurchbigmission.org.

Being a Disciple-Making Barnabas

Being a Disciple-Making Barnabas

In January 2016, I was invited to be with a group of disciple-making leaders from around the country for a four-day summit. This gathering occurred in a place I had never been, with countless people I had never met before.

On the first day of the gathering, I was provided an envelope that contained an index card. On the card was the name of one person who was present at the summit.  After receiving the card, we were invited to pray for the person whose name was on the card and invited to jot down words of encouragement, scripture passages, or pictures that came to mind related to this person. At the end of our time together, the cards were returned and given to the person whose name was written on the card.

A Picture of the Journey

The card that was returned to me at the end of the summit shared the following:

“It’s been a joy to hear some of your story. I’m proud of you! I got a picture of you coming to a trailhead climbing a mountain. You went left while others went right. Your trail was narrow, and few walked on it. It was harder and longer but the views were far superior. You saw no one climbing or returning. But when you got back to where the trail split, people were looking at you. They had lots of questions on what it was like and what you saw. Most wouldn’t go after hearing about it, but some would go if you lead them.”

The words written on this index card in 2016 clarified in a single moment the journey that I had been on with God over the recent years … and the journey that God had in store for me in the years ahead. The way forward was going to be one of walking alongside others as a Barnabas-like encourager.

God’s Presence and Direction

As I read these words today, I hear God’s voice and feel God’s presence, God’s love, and the abundance of God’s grace demonstrated to me through formative years of my journey of discovery and transformation.  While I can recall sleepless nights, and times of both wondering and wandering – I also recognize God’s presence with me every step of the way.  I realize that God not only was with me, but God was also shaping and molding me (as if on a potter’s wheel) for the journey that was yet ahead. 

God was preparing me for a future direction of being a Barnabas-like encourager for others.

To connect with Jeff Allen, or to learn more about resources for discipleship and being a Small church on a BIG Mission – go to www.smallchurchbigmission.org or email Jeff at: pjallen@faithctr.org