As we develop media strategies to connect with people and help them to walk through a discipleship process, I think of the person's own story. Mehmet searches for something new after he's experienced a disruption of normal life or beliefs. A disruption will make Mehmet open to asking questions and re-forming how he views himself and God.
In our own life, or in someone else's, this is a journey that we may imagine or map in advance. It is too complicated to discuss in a brief post, but I want to share a tool developed to help you think about key elements of a media strategy. We can identify a whole set of questions, connecting points, content, actions, and engagements that may occur along a person's spiritual journey - the Funnel.
A helpful tool to visualize this is a Funnel for High-Level Conversion, developed by Dr. Frank Preston. In this funnel, he identifies six stages that a person commonly moves through in making a high-level decision, like transitioning to a new religion/worldview. I've provided a sample adaptation of Dr. Preston's funnel in the form of a Disciple-Making Journey Map. It's an Excel spreadsheet that you may customize for your own use. I hope it's helpful to you if you are thinking of ways to identify and walk with people through a journey to becoming reproducing disciples of Christ. I teach this in more depth in the Mission Media U "Foundations of Media Strategy" course that is offered several times a year.
Here's my basic thinking; at each major stage of the funnel, I ask five questions.
1. What is Their Story?
2. What is Our Connection?
3. What is Our Content?
4. What is our "What?" (the thing we want them to do)
5. What is Our Response?
All these things change over time as a person moves through a process. It will not be perfectly linear as a chart like this suggests, but people do tend to need to deal with these stages in some fashion. At the beginning, I may not know very much, but I can begin to fill in ideas and then add to them as I go along. To me, the point is to do enough thinking and preparation that I have an outline of my strategy. I will discover new things...things I don't anticipate...things I'm just plain wrong about! But I am prepared. Then I'm prayerfully open to see how the Holy Spirit moves.
The SAMPLE file is one I've begun to fill in. I want to imagine their journey, and work from my experience in walking alongside people, maybe my own personal experience of coming to faith. This is just brainstorming, but you can see some ways I might fill in the boxes and answer the questions from my end.
Here are the free downloads.