Creating a Ministry Plan for Mission Effectiveness
A Guided Learning and Self-Discovery Process
The Clear Path for Discipleship is a guided learning and self-discovery process that equips pastors and parish leadership to self-evaluate their current ministry situation and needs. After which they can custom design solutions to meet their particular challenges. The process helps parish leaders form a plan addressing the needs of people at every stage of faith development, thus forming missionary disciples.
The Clear Path for Discipleship process is the Diocesan Mutually Shared Vision, a goal under the Priority, "Growing God's Family."
What Is It?
The Clear Path for Discipleship:
Crossing the Thresholds of Conversion
The Clear Path defines the stages of spiritual development from non-believer to missionary disciple-maker and provides a process for evaluating the mission effectiveness of parish ministry structures.
The Stream Analogy
Imagine a stream with a stepping stone path leading across. If the stones are set at the right distance, crossing the stream is as easy as walking across the street.
However, if the stones are set too far apart, or one is missing, it becomes much more precarious. You might have to jump from one stone to the next. In that case, the chances of falling off the path and into the water increase.
The Clear Path allows parish leadership to design a ministry plan that meets parishioner needs at every stage of spiritual development and intentionally moves them to the next step.
Just like the stone path across the stream, if the steps along the spiritual path are too far apart or missing, it's difficult for people to progress. The likelihood of them stalling in progress or falling off the path and away from the Church increases.
Guidance from the Clear Path process helps you layer ministries so parishioners can progress smoothly toward deeper relationship with Christ, spiritual growth, and missionary fruitfulness.
In the Clear Path Process You Will:
Gain clarity on your parish mission goals.
Understand the essentials of what makes the Clear Path work.
Develop senior leadership and discipleship teams.
Learn how to reach the hard-to-reach people.
Create an easy-to-follow path of spiritual growth for parishioners.
Get your whole parish moving in the same direction--one parish family on mission together.
The Clear Path Process
We liken this process to a mountain climbing expedition. Think of the steps needed to ascend the highest peaks in the world, like Mount Everest.
You don't just decide one day to take on something that monumental and then start the very next day. It takes months of planning and preparation to get ready, and then the journey itself is completed in stages. The Clear Path Process is similar.
The process has six stages. The first three prepare the pastor, and a parish team, to attend the one-day Base camp workshop.
In mountain climbing, base camp is a staging area where climbers make final preparations to scale the summit. It's pretty far up the slope...close enough to be within striking distance of the top. However, if the weather gets bad or other problems arise, climbers can spend time there and assess the situation.
In the Clear Path process, Base camp is where we develop a common understanding of discipleship so you can assess your current ministry structure and discern your parish's path to the summit, which is a parish culture animated by evangelization.
Notice that you're not starting from the bottom of the mountain. You've already begun this journey with your (A) current parish discipleship efforts. As well, the Diocesan Mutually Shared Vision (B) set everyone on the discipleship path with the Priority "Growing God's Family".
Here are Clear Path Process stages:
- 1Introduction Meeting (1/2 hour): Facilitator meets with pastor, and any leaders they choose, to introduce and explain the process, as well as answer any initial questions.
- 2Facilitator-Pastor Meeting (1 hour): Facilitator listens to pastor's input and guides through his responsibilities for the process.
- 3Parish Team Gathering (2 hours): Facilitator meets with team to offer Pre-Base camp team-building exercises.
- 4Base camp (one-day workshop): Using strategic conversations and discovery exercises, facilitators will guide each team as they learn about the Clear Path approach to conversion, discipleship, and formation for mission.
- 5Facilitator Attends Parish Team Meeting: Following Base camp experience, each team will begin meeting regularly to make decisions and plan for ministry development according to their own needs. The facilitator will attend the first (or an early) meeting of the team to help them get started making their "ascent" in discipleship.
- 6Amazing Parish Conference-Overland Park Convention Center: Begins October 19, 2020 (Registration at 3-6 pm, talks start at 7 pm). Ends October 21, 2020 (Close at 4 pm).
The actual work of reaching the summit must be done post-conference by you and your parish team. However, we can (and will) help as much, or as little, as you like.
We will offer workshops parishes can use to continue their "ascent" in discipleship, along with a wide variety of other resources. Parish may ask their accompanying facilitator and/or other diocesan personnel for consultation on particular concerns.
"The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and compassionate gaze which also heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian life."
Pope Francis-Evangelium Gaudium 169
The Thresholds of Conversion & Discipleship
The Clear Path for Discipleship is a guided learning and self-discovery process that equips pastors and parish leadership to self-evaluate their current situation and needs.
The process helps parish leaders form a plan addressing the needs of people at every stage of faith development, thus forming missionary disciples.
Learning to identify which stage people are currently at in their journey of growth allows you to apply the best approach to help them advance.
Con·ver·sion [noun] :
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, a person believes in God, trusts in his mercy, and makes the decision, or recommits, to live as a follower, or disciple, of Jesus Christ.(see Mark 1:15; Mark 8:34; Acts 2:38-42)
The Thresholds of Conversion and Discipleship Chart is a tool that can help you do this.
Dis·ci·ple·ship [noun] :
The process of accompanying a person through conversion to a deeper, ongoing relationship with Jesus, and then mentoring them to share the Gospel with others. (see Mark 1:17-20; Hebrews 13:7; 1 Corinthians 11:1)
The Thresholds Chart is a combination of two resources, written in everyday language, focusing on an individual's spiritual journey. Think of this chart as a continuum moving from left to right, increasing in:
- trust in the Lord,
- love, relationship with Jesus,
- activity/personal initiative,
- and involvement in the community.
Decision is the point of movement from passive to active disposition.
In the Beginning People Need Relational Outreach:
A relational witness to the love of God through personal accompaniment, acts of service and mercy, and joyful living.
A person likely has no connection with an individual Catholic or the Church and likely harbors suspicion or outright hostility toward Catholicism.
A person has a positive association with Jesus, the Church (Catholic Schools), or a Catholic. This is not the same as active personal faith.
A person is intrigued by or desires to know more about Jesus or his teachings. This is passive spirituality, and the person is not yet open to change.
Next, Conversion Greenhouses Facilitate Decision:
An effort to proclaim the Good News to those who are receptive and to facilitate an encounter with Jesus leading to a decision to begin (or begin again) as a disciple.
A person admits to a general need or desire for personal and spiritual change. This is not the same as a commitment to specific changes.
A person moves from being passive to actively seeking to know the God who is calling him/her. The seeker is engaged in a spiritual quest.
Decision Is The Hinge
The decision, in faith to follow Jesus as an obedient disciple in the midst of the Church, which brings about new life.
After Decision is the Time for Transformational Growth:
Transformational experiences of authentic community and formation to help people grow as intentional disciples in the content and habits of the faith.
A person begins to follow Jesus as a disciple, starts turning away from sin, and has a tangible desire to grow spiritually.
A person develops a heart for God, makes any sacrifice in order to grow, and lives habits of the Christian life.
Finally, Missional Teams Train and Support Missionaries:
A small (but growing) band of missionary disciples with a shared mission to serve individuals at particular thresholds along the journey.
A person has decided to personally answer the call to take part in the mission of the Church by sharing the Good News.
A person has helped another commit their life to Jesus as a disciple and makes any sacrifice to help another person grow spiritually.
A person is fully equipped for lifelong Catholic mission and has produced a strong third generation of disciples.
MEET YOUR FACILITATOR
Your facilitator will contact pastors to introduce the process, answer questions and help figure out who to invite. Facilitators for our team have extensive experience in the discipleship process and have been trained to accompany teams through all of the steps.
REGISTER AND ATTEND A BASE CAMP
Your facilitator will help register your team to attend a Base camp workshop. The will be offered in each Deanery territory beginning in September 2019. The only cost associated with Base camp is for the parish to cover the cost of lunch (no more than $10 per person.
ATTEND A PRE-MEETING
Your facilitator will help schedule and plan a Pre-Base camp meeting with your team.
SAVE THE DATE
Save the date for the Amazing Parish Conference, October 19-21, 2020, at the Overland Park Convention Center. Starts October 19 at 7 pm and concludes October 21 at 4 pm.
DIOCESE OF KANSAS CITY - ST. JOSEPH
The Office of Domestic Church & Discipleship
Collaborative Effort of these Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph Offices:
Catechesis and Faith Formation
College Campus Ministry
Marriage and Family Life
The Clear Path for Discipleship Process was originally developed by the Archdiocese of Omaha. Elements of their process are used with permission by the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph which has adapted their process to suit our own needs. The process is an application of ideas from Sherry Weddell’s research found in her book Forming Intentional Disciples along with other sources on Missionary Discipleship.
Direct line: 816-714-2373
20 West 9th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105
Direct line: 816-714-2373
20 West 9th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105