God is really into using marriage as a metaphor for his relationship to us … the problem is figuring out how to use that metaphor in the context of a growing church that wants to disciple. On one hand we want to create intentional systems that guide people along a designed path. On the other hand “intentional systems” and “be married to Jesus” don’t feel very compatible, do they? Relationships are organic. They can’t be quantified. Marriages aren’t a management track or to-do list.

Is it even possible to lay out a measurable discipleship track for the bride of Christ? Yes, it is, if done well, because the truth is this: relationships may be organic, but they’re also intentional.

"Is it even possible to lay out a measurable discipleship track for the bride of Christ?"

Think of a married couple you know. Now imagine their path from their first conversation to their wedding day. On one hand their story is unique to them, full of unexpected moments that never could have been planned. On the other hand, their story probably contains moments common to all couples: meeting, friendship, dating, engagement, and marriage. Not only that, but the process of moving through those steps required the intentional step of asking the person out, buying a ring, and planning the wedding. On one hand the relationship grew naturally and without a “plan,” but on the other hand the key moments only happened because there was a plan. Both exist at once!

A person’s spiritual journey works the same way, organic and unique but with common steps in the process. What if it were possible to reimagine church management systems to guide your church community through intentional moments, moving them from a seeker exploring faith to one of your most committed leaders? When you look at someone’s spiritual journey, here are some common moments that normally occur:

Invitation

A person’s first step toward belonging, is knowing there’s a place of belonging. This could be an evangelistic moment, a neighbor inviting someone to church, a card in the mail, or a thousand other things. But it starts with a moment of contact.

Connection

Usually someone’s faith journey involves them visiting a church for the first time. At that point they ask “is this a place for me? Will I belong here? Am I welcomed?”

Commitment

It’s always exciting when a loosely-connected guest shows signs of putting “skin in the game” with their commitment to God. This is the phase where a person’s involvement goes from “what’s here for me?” to “how can I contribute?”

"What if it were possible to reimagine church management systems to guide your church community through intentional moments?"

This list is fairly obvious, but the key question is “how do we reimagine management tools that actually track all this?” What if it were possible to organize your entire church’s processes around a path that recognizes both the fluidity, yet consistency of people’s journeys?

We’ll talk about how to do that in the next post, but for now a few questions:

  • What is missing from the path above? Is there anything you would include?
  • Where is your church doing well? Where could it improve?
  • What are some systems you could put in place to guide people through this process?

These questions are important, because discipleship - just like marriage - is intentional!

There's always a next step:

People are at the heart of your ministry, and knowing where they are in their journey is key to guiding them to deeper engagement. Check out our redesigned people profiles, they make it easier than ever to get a view of the people in your church.