Through the Journey, a small group gets to the heart of discipleship.
The path of discipleship is a continuing journey. But finding the right place for each person to start is a difficult task.
“We were looking for something that would allow individuals to enter the discipleship path where they are spiritually,” says Tom VandeBerg, lead pastor of Adventure Life Reformed Church, in Altoona, Iowa. “Too often churches begin a discipleship program by trying to take everyone back to square one. We wanted something that could move everyone forward with a ‘next step’ that might be different for each person.”
Adventure Life has been working, with the help of the RCA, to define the steps needed to develop leaders who are fully devoted to following Christ. One very productive step has been utilizing The Journey, a resource offered by VantagePoint3, whose aim is to deepen discipleship among Christian leaders.
The focus of The Journey is on Scripture, but it provides more than just biblical understanding. It helps participants move further along their journeys by discovering how far they have already come. They see how certain verses have applied to their lives in the past and how they apply in the present.
“It’s like crossing a stream,” says VandeBerg. “These are the boulders and rocks that provide the stepping stones to the other side. The Journey helps you see where the steps are to move forward in your spiritual life.”
Adventure Life piloted The Journey materials in a small group of VandeBerg and three others. As they have entered a deeper walk together, they have become united, bolder, and stronger, and have developed a sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The goal is for each of these participants to lead their own group within the congregation.
“We’ve developed a new openness and willingness to share our own personal stories,” VandeBerg says of the pilot group. “That’s the goal of discipleship. That’s the way the gospel is spread. We’re looking forward to adding more and more people on this journey together.”
Tim Poppen is a member of Sunnybrook Community Church (RCA) in Sioux City, Iowa, and video producer for the Synod of the Heartland.