"Begin with the End in Mind"

We finished up the fall A Disciple's Path class yesterday (you can learn more about the class by clicking here).  Our classmates noted the importance of intentionality and effort in discipleship.

Nothing in the rest of our lives is achieved without setting a goal, making a plan, and working toward it.  Why would being a disciple of Jesus Christ be any different?

What might we learn from all that is put into to successfully coordinating a Thanksgiving dinner (the lists and communications and buying and cooking and cleaning) to help us more successfully structure our life of discipleship?

At Briggs Elementary School the children are learning to "begin with the end in mind."  Bishop Holston has begun asking church leaders to start any planning process with the question, "What do we want the outcome to be?"

A Disciple's Path lays out Christian practices that will help us know and follow Jesus better (the outcome we want!).  It has a self-assessment tool where participants consider where they are on a continuum from exploring the faith to centering on Jesus.  Participants consider the continuum as it relates to the following practices: prayer, scripture meditation, financial generosity, invitational evangelism, small-group community, corporate worship, and gift-based service.

I don't know anyone who is at the centering end of the spectrum in all 7 of these practices.  Everyone can stand some self-assessment and planning when it comes to how he or she might grow in discipleship.

Just as we don't wake up one morning and run a marathon (like I said in the sermon yesterday - 466 miles of training before I started the 26.2 mile race), we do not wake up one morning and perfect our Christian walk.

What end, what outcome to we want?  A more faithful life of following Jesus, a life that lands us squarely within the joy of the Master.  How do we get there?  By grace, but also by making a plan, giving effort to fulfilling it, and by having the encouragement and support of other disciples.

Get to it - you've got this!