Assessing Trajectory

Carlos grew up in church.  He married a woman he met in the college ministry he belonged to, and today they have four kids that keep them busy.  An advancing career brought them to your community, and they stopped you after service on Sunday to ask for more information. As a growing family, they are faithful in attending church and small group and they volunteer in Children’s ministry.


Kirsten grew up in a broken home where there was no mention of Jesus unless someone was swearing — and that was pretty often.  Without much love or guidance, Kirsten made her own way and lots of mistakes.  She hit bottom last month and found her way to AA to stay alive.  She met a friend there who introduced her to Jesus.  Last Sunday, she found her way to your church for the first time.


As a church planter, how do you think about these two encounters?  Do you focus on where they are or where they are going?  Maybe it’s just my own humanness, but I think we naturally assess where people are.  In church, that becomes: how much do they already look like the people we want them to become? We would be more effective as leaders, and disciples-makers, if we learned to instead assess trajectory.


You see, Carlos knows a lot about the Bible but he hasn’t actually read one in months. He’s hoping to find a small group because he works long hours and if his wife makes new friends, so she won’t give him such a bad time about being at the office until 7 or later every night.  His trajectory is nowhere.  But Kirsten is hungry for Jesus.  She is reading large chunks of scripture everyday.  She has lots of questions, but she also has vibrant simple faith that takes God at his word and is willing to do whatever He asks.  Her trajectory is straight for Jesus and she is moving fast.


You can assess trajectory by looking at three elements:

  • Path – what direction is the person travelling? Towards Christ and Christlikeness? Or away?
  • Pace – how fast are they moving?
  • Proximity – this is very subjective, but, essentially, how close have they gotten? How long has it taken them?

Learning to ask those simple questions might give you very different ideas about how to lead both Carlos and Kirsten to become more like Jesus.

One thought on “Assessing Trajectory

  1. Brenda

    I just need MORE GOD in NY daily life. I’m in need of feeling his presence. He is my saviour and without him i am nothing.


Leave a Reply to Brenda Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>