Pathways is a 2-3 hour interactive workshop for church leaders originally designed by Ken Morgan from Church Resource Ministries. The session is designed to help leaders understand and explore the steps by which people might journey into connection with a Christian community, and find a pathway into maturing faith. While the original workshop presented a linear pathway, Duncan Macleod helpfully offered a stepping stones metaphor which acknowledges different ways in which people connect and grow.
The workshop process includes an invitation for people to reflect on their own faith journeys, and the steps that were significant in their growth – people, places, experiences. We look at what faith development involves – faith is experiential and relational before it is inquisitive and cognitive. We put that alongside the kinds of steps that people take in joining a community or organisation.
Step Two involves helping leaders to identify and describe the groups, activities and relationships that the congregation offers in ministry and mission. These are then mapped as possible stepping stones into faith and community life. The mapping process opens lots of positive conversation about the why, what and who of church activities.
Step Three looks at the stepping stones that exist and the gaps. For example, why don’t people even know about our church? How are people invited to connect with groups or activities offered by our church? Who builds relationships with newcomers? When are people invited to explore Christian faith? What steps are offered toward Christian maturity?
Pathways leads to an understanding of how your church is experienced by newcomers, and a recognition of the opportunities and barriers to growth. Leaders can then work on ways to help people make steps into community life and steps in faith. So it is a springboard for further ministry and mission development, not a simple set of solutions.