As we continue to look at becoming an intentional disciple we can discover that there are five steps or “Thresholds” as Sherry Weddell calls them. First there has to be that initial trust of Jesus Christ, the Church, a believer, in order to move closer to God. This leads to spiritual curiosity where a person wants to know more about Jesus, his life, and his teachings. A person who is curious about something still has not made a commitment. Next comes Spiritual openness where a person acknowledges the possibility of personal and spiritual change. This is not commitment yet. Then a person becomes a spiritual seeker actively seeking to know God and to see if they can trust God enough to make a commitment to Christ and the Church. The final step is to become an intentional disciple. To make that lifelong commitment.
We have to remember that, like the stages of grief, the stages of discipleship are not set in stone or guided by the clock or calendar. We are dealing with a person’s intimate relationship with God. God is calling the individual. We are just there to answer a question, or to share our journey, or to give some encouragement.
We have to always make room for the Holy Spirit of God to operate, first in our own lives and then in lives of those who are seeking something. If we try and force a timetable on them or dump a lot of Church information on them too soon they will become overwhelmed and turn away. Maybe it is time for a study group in the parish to reflect on Sherry’s book to see how we might become parishes of Intentional Disciples.
Blessings … Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT : What have been the moments I have had conversions? Do I recognize these stages in others? Would I like to join with others to see what we can do for parishioners? (see Father)