Marvin Church, this year the Discipleship Team is creating a Discipleship Pathway, marking the steps in the process of being and making disciples for Christ. Like the first disciples, we are all called to make disciples (who make disciples who make disciples.) To mark the pathway, we are gathering information about our church family (Christ’s body) by using a resource called the Reveal Survey.

A spiritual life inventory, the Reveal Survey gives great insight into the spiritual life of a congregation, providing vital data to our discipleship strategy. The Reveal Survey is not about individual preference, but about individual behavior.

Think with me for a second about the stages of our human development:

1. We are born into this world as infants;

2. We grow and develop as children;

3. We continue to develop as adolescents;

4. And then we mature into adults.

What if there are stages of spiritual development that correlate to the stages of human development? What if there is a continuum that represents the faith journey, with four stages on that continuum:

1. Exploring Christ

2. Growing in Christ

3. Close to Christ and

4. Christ-centered.

Think about how Jesus related to his disciples:

He took 12 men from different walks of life and began a movement that revolutionized the world. He related differently to those 12 men over the course of three years together.

Jesus met those 12 men right where they were and moved them from a life of not knowing or caring who Jesus was to a life that was Christ-centered.

On one end of the continuum, someone who’s just starting out, exploring who Christ is, may feel more like a stranger with Jesus, and on the other end, someone whose life is Christ-centered tells everything to Jesus, feels everything with Jesus, is motivated by Jesus in all of life—again, that’s the end goal. Spiritually speaking it is as natural a progression as is human development.

If we have 100 people take the Reveal Survey we’ll know that x-percent of them self-identified as Exploring Christ, x-percent of them as Growing in Christ, etc. We won’t know why they did (they will) or who they are, but we’ll know what Marvin Church looks like and how we can help more of us move along the continuum of growing ever more like Jesus Christ. In three years, we will take the Reveal Survey again to see how we’ve grown and where we need to get moving.

Finally, let me say the creation of a Discipleship Pathway is a marathon, not a sprint. Our goal is to make disciples. Not members. Not to increase programming or worship attendance. But to make disciples. And as we do that, as we focus on being and making disciples, it will improve the whole, including membership, programs and worship. But again, it starts with making disciples.

Think with me if you will about a healthy church. A vibrant church. A church that is making disciples.

Think about the spiritual practices of the disciples in that church.

Think about the behaviors of the disciples in that church.

Think about the influence in the community of the disciples in that church.

Think about the partnership with God.

Think about the creativity from the Most Creative One.

Think about the Kingdom of God. Right here. Right now.

I don’t want to go to that church.

I want to be that church.

I am that church.

And so are you.

Marvin Church, please go now and take the Reveal Survey; we have just until March 21. Find a link to the Reveal Survey on the website and in the Messenger. Your completely anonymous participation will help us better understand who we are as a congregation and how we can best strategize for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.