Finding your own path to Christ.
Everyone has a different story about how they found Christ in their heart. Some through family just growing up, some through friends and many through a life changing event. Wherever your path takes you or wherever you are in your faith walk, Mary is here to help guide you.
The Five Thresholds of Discipleship
In the mid-1990's, a campus minister named Doug Schaupp was struggling with evangelizing students at UCLA. Schaupp wanted to know what, how and why his efforts were limited in their success. He asked a small group of students who had experienced conversion to describe how their conversion progressed. He asked them to recall what seemed remarkable during their conversion experiences. Here is what he said in Five Thresholds of Postmodern Conversion:
"At the end of the year, we interviewed most of the 37 students to find out what kind of internal and external dynamics helped them into the Kingdom of God. What we found was that they actually all went through the same phases of growth and transformation, though each student obviously took different amounts of time to grow from one place to the next.”
Schaupp and his collaborators found there were five thresholds or stages of conversion that all had passed through. They found that conversion wasn’t instant nor without an increasing engagement and commitment to making their life and life choices deliberate. What they gleaned from their qualitative data was a distinct process that is substantiated in the gospels. For example, the blind man in John 9:1-38, who went through a series of steps on his way to full commitment to Jesus. When the priests interrogated him, he spoke of a man called Jesus. He later described this Jesus as a prophet. Later he went on to describe Jesus as being from God. When he was reunited with Jesus he called Jesus, Lord and then he naturally worshiped Him.
We can learn from this remarkable book by Doug Schauup and by its interpretation by Sherry Waddell in her book “Forming Intentional Disciples.” In her book Sherry re-imaged the five stages as thresholds we enter into as Catholics. We will find that we enter into them one after another, yet we will go back and forth. The five thresholds appear to be helpful in recognizing both growth and goals for people who want to become saints!
Excerpt(s) from Forming Intentional Disciples © Sherry Waddell Published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. 1-800-348-2440. Used by permission. No other use of this material is authorized.
"A person is able to trust or has a positive association with Jesus Christ, the Church, a Christian believer, or something identifiably Christian. Trust is not the same as active personal faith. Without some kind of bridge of trust in place, people will not move closer to God."