Forming Intentional Disciples Chapter Summary Points - Chapter 8

The last two thresholds are a bit different from the other three. They are sometimes called ” The Zone”.

Sherry explains:

“ We have found it useful to think of the two thresholds of seeking and intentional discipleship as a whole... what both thresholds have in common is that they are active rather than essentially passive like the earlier thresholds of trust, curiosity and openness.’ (p.171)

In order to enter into the threshold of ”seeking” there has to be a  certainty that a personal relation with God IS  possible.  Those who seek are looking for the person of Jesus Christ but are not intentional disciples yet.  They are seriously thinking about following Jesus.  During this threshold the evangelizer continues to model what it means to be a disciple and continues to proclaim the kerygma.  This is also the threshold best suited for catechesis. 

How does this threshold of “seeking” and where it stands in the process of bringing people to Christ challenge us and the way we have we have typically thought about “bringing people to the faith” or in deepening our own? How does it challenge our approaches to religious education? Knowing what you know now about the path to intentional discipleship that Sherry lays out in her book,  where do you find yourself in this journey?   


  • Dcn Michael WardPosted on 6/13/20

    This is a much more challenging set of propositions than meets the eye at first. Most of what we currently conceive of as "bringing people to the faith" or "forming them in the faith" is heavily characterized by imparting 'knowledge", one way or another. What Sherry is offering is that this is best done as a second level type of engagement AFTER people have established some level of relationship with Jesus Christ. This means that often we are starting on the wrong foot with with inquirers and young people participating in our faith formation/development programs and initiatives at the parish level. Sherry contends that this is why such efforts have less "sticking" power and newly baptized and confirmed people often leave the faith within a year. The relationship and not the knowledge is what sustains.
    My sense is that I have the relationship/discipleship foundation established mostly, as times stronger and weaker, but it definitely magnifies the power of knowledge and makes me always interested gaining more as it deepens my faith.

  • Lorraine LevesquePosted on 6/02/20

    The threshold of "seeking" requires an actively conscious, choice-oriented participation from the person. The question is exactly what/who are they seeking? In order to know what -- or more precisely who -- they are "seeking" requires having an established personal relationship with Jesus already existing. My experience has been that typically we have thought about "bringing people to the faith" (or deepening our own) through teaching/learning the dogmas or the various teachings of the faith first before developing a personal, trusting relationship with God. (However, I have recognized that I have been blessed by God because through HIs grace I was allowed to learn the "facts" as well as deepen my relationship with Jesus simultaneously.) By having the threshold of "seeking" at this point in the process, typically the person's certainty of having a personal relationship (the more "passive" side) is already established so now is the proper time to begin learning the "facts" of why there is such an overwhelming desire to deepen this relationship and how to become or live as an "intentional disciple". To be an "intentional disciple" is a life-long, every day choice a person consciously makes whereas merely knowing the "facts" doesn't necessarily lead a person into a deeper, more personal relationship. In other words, merely knowing the "facts" can imply one has reached the "graduation" level but having a personal relationship is a deeper level of commitment...the difference between "head-knowledge" verses "heart-knowledge".
    Having been raised as a "cradle Catholic", the approach to religious education was basically the opposite. The facts of the faith were taught first and then it was up to the individual to figure out how to implement and deepen your personal relationship with Jesus...somewhat like "putting the cart before the horse".
    Knowing now what I do about the path to intentional discipleship, I believe I have made the commitment to be an intentional disciple even though I know I am definitely NOT a perfect one. There are many times that I wonder if I am really living as an intentional disciple is called to live or am I deceiving myself into thinking that I am. However, I do believe that as long as I keep striving to be a more committed disciple of Jesus then I am on the right path and through His grace will continue go in the same direction trusting He will continue to guide me.