Most of us have been on the way somewhere and suddenly had doubts that we were going the right way. You know the feeling. You're driving and the Google map directions don't make sense so you keep going even though you don't come across the street you're looking for. And then the street dead ends.
How about in your spiritual life? Ever suddenly realize that you must've gotten off the path along the way? Or that you've not really moved in the last year (or 10)?
What do you do? If you're like me, you might decide that it's time to be more disciplined about your morning devotional time or maybe even reaffirm your commitment to find an accountability partner. You might break out your memory verses or rededicate yourself to a daily discipline of silence and meditation.
What do you do?
The Apostle Paul was wrestling with a related concern when he wrote that he didn't consider himself to have
arrived (Philippians 3:13-14). He went on to write, "But one thing I
do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
I've used this diagram for a couple years to describe the idea of helping your small group ministry get to there (where you dream of it being). It's a very helpful way of looking at ministry design. But it's also really great for helping individuals think about spiritual growth and development.
There are six keys steps to understanding the diagram:
- The Present: Attitudes and behaviors you have right now along with your struggles and your victories…are represented by the present in the diagram.
- The Probable Future: If nothing changes in you, if your attitudes and behaviors remain the same, it's easy to see who you will likely be in 10 years (or 20). After all, Albert Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results." Well said.
- The Possible Future: If you took the time you could begin to imagine all that's possible in the way of character, behavior and attitudes.
- The Preferred Future: The character of Christ is what we aspire to be. Right? What are those attributes (attitudes and behaviors) that make up the kind of person we'd like to be (and need to be) if we're going to become like Christ?
- Getting to the Preferred Future: Getting to there will require a set of actions that move us onto a new trajectory.
- Staying the Course: Disciplines can be used to keep us moving in the direction we want to go. Andy Stanley says that, "Path, not intent, determines destination."
Do you have a path? One of my core assumptions is that if you want something to happen in the lives of the members of your groups, something will have to happen in the lives of your leaders first. It follows that if you want something to happen in the lives of your leaders…it will have to happen in your life first. And in mine.
Do you have a path? Does your small group ministry have a path? Is it designed to make disciples?
Thoughts? Can you see how this concept could help your effort to make disciples?