The United Methodist Church, in some areas of the denomination, are freaking out over the decline of membership and participation. I get it. It is concerning to those of us who have our have become dependent on a paycheck from worshiping communities.
There are many who have suggestions on what is needed for a church to "turn around" participation and engagement. Of those suggestions, the idea of having a "discipleship path" has gained a lot of traction. A discipleship path is just a technical name of describing how a local church helps guide people into deeper relationship with Christ. There is much to be desired when talking about a discipleship path. Making a disciple is not like making a car on an assembly line, but there are many who are doing good work on this effort.
After looking over several different discipleship paths, it seems that they are built on a common pattern - 1) Come and See, 2) Sit and Stay, 3) Go and Share.
The point in sharing this is that if you find yourself looking for a way to grow deeper in relationship with Christ, I submit this pattern:
- Come and See - Jesus is calling you to see things that require you to leave your comfort zone (examples: worship, service with others, study, etc.)
- Sit and Stay - Once we arrive, it is important to sit and stay. As Abba Moses said, "Sit in your cell and your cell will teach you all that you need to know." (examples: meditation, prayer, discernment, etc.)
- Go and Share - If we do not share with others then our spiritual formation is nothing but self-help (examples: teaching, evangelism, service with others, etc.)