The Clear Path to Discipleship: Step 1

We all know that there is no silver bullet, no one program that will completely renew our parishes. Even the best programs fail if our parishioners don’t know what’s next. Parishioners will simply hop from program to program if we don’t tell them the process that will lead to growth in their relationship with God.

We call this a clear path to discipleship. When a person enters a parish, do they know what steps to take in order to grow in their relationship with God?

In order for a parish to build this clear path, we’ve identified 4 steps in the process:

Step 1: Relational Outreach – the efforts of  a parish to meet people who don’t yet have a relationship with Christ and to build trust and arouse wonder at the way that we live as Christians. That is, witnessing to the love of Jesus.

Step 2: Conversion Engine – the effort to proclaim the basic message of the gospel and to invite people to accept the message of Jesus, accept him and begin following him as a disciple in the midst of His church.

Step 3: Discipleship Formation – once someone has accepted Jesus, they become his disciple. They’ve turned from their former way of life and begin following him, and they really need to be established in the life of the community. And, they guidance to be established in the life of the sacraments and begin building good habits of a Christian life.

Step 4: Missionary Initiative – sending disciples out to evangelize, both through their words and through their witness. This step helps parishioners identify their charisms and discover their mission field, the people that they’re most uniquely suited to serve. It’s about a full discovery of their baptismal promises.

The Clear Path to Discipleship is the process of how a parish accompanies people in their growth, and there are carefully selected programs that make up that process. However, every program is at the service of the process, and the process is ultimately at the service of the people.

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Jim Jansen – Director of Pastoral Services, Archdiocese of Omaha

Fr. Jeff Lorig – Pastor at St. Joan of Arc and St. Thomas More


Andy Dejka – Coordinator of Parish Evangelization and Adult Disciple

One Response to “The Clear Path to Discipleship: Step 1”

I can’t thank you enough for the work you are doing here. This was a great episode (28) with practice (emphasis added) steps and principles that Catholics can learn from and put to use. I especially liked Andy’s Seattle story. I feel we Catholics need some tools in our tool box that can be as simple as asking someone a few key/interesting questions (i.e asking an engaged couple, or new friend) such as, “what is your God experience in your life or what one question would you like God to answer for you. That’s great stuff to start a ‘safe’ conversation with someone. Please keep this information coming our way !!! God bless.

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