I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago learning from a national research project on churches and discipleship called REVEAL. This was one of the best conferences I have ever attended, in 25 yrs of ministry! I walk away with an excitement, a new vision, a new knowledge of what we, the church, are to be and can be. I am now writing a document to communicate to our staff a strategy for 2010 that will move people to be disciples of Christ.

The symbol oTooo is a guiding vision of a life-line of discipleship we will use for planning. The REVEAL research discovered there are basically four levels of people in church:
Explore/ (salvation experience) Beginning/ Growing/ Christ-Centered/ are the four stages in the journey, each represented with a o in the symbol. T represents a persons salvation experience.

How do you use this in a church? First we must consider “what people want from the church.”
1. Help me understand the Bible better and deeper.
2. Help me develop a personal relationship with Christ.
3. Offer strong children’s opportunities.
4. Challenge me to grow and take the next step on my journey.
5. Compelling worship services.

Next we work to offer class options for each stage to help them understand the Bible. We will embed the Bible in every age group and every class offering. We are considering how to challenge often and clearly communicate the next step along the journey. Challenges and next steps will not be limited to classes on campus but also appear in service opportunities, on-line studies and Small Groups that will be developed over the next few months

What about you? Where are you on the journey, oTooo? Are you a Christ-follower or just exploring? Are you new to Christ or consider yourself sold out to Jesus to the point of being totally Christ-centered? Discovering reality of your place on this journey is the first step. Second, where do you want to be? What is your next step on your journey? REVEAL discovered that time in the Bible, (reading it, reflecting on it and letting your time in it become a conversation with God to let the relationship grow deeper) is the single most beneficial gap-filler between your reality and desire.

Take the challenge: read the Bible 10 minutes a day; reflect on it as in conversation with God for 10 minutes; pray each day for 10 friends/neighbors who are not connected to God; and connect to 10 others via a Small Group. Let’s see what God does in your life over the next three months.