In His Steps Program 
 

The In His Steps discipleship development program is a joint endeavor of the christian life programs and william's works branches of the Teaching & Sharing Centers non-profit organization. Developed in 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is centered around the question every professed Christian should be asking every day, in all circumstances. "What would Jesus have me do?" This is a four tier program, so followers at a variety of stages in their walk with Jesus can utilize it. It was developed to serve all. It is not copyrighted. No royalties, or fees are involved. Churches, organizations, or even just groups of followers, may use the program on their own. 

 

The Basics
 
 

The goal of the In His Steps program is to get Christians into the habit of asking "what would Jesus have me do?" Not just once in a while, or on Sunday (or Saturday), but every day, in every circumstance, with every decision. Eventually, what might feel at first like a task, would simply become second nature, and automatic. 

Program Structure

"What would Jesus have me do?"

Level One – Explorer Groups – Tools: God (prayer); Bible study focusing on the words and actions of Jesus in the four Gospels to see what a life intimately involving Jesus might look like. 

Level Two – Follower Groups – Tools: God (prayer); Bible study focusing on the words and actions of Jesus' followers in the four Gospels, and Acts; In His Steps book (What would Jesus do?) written by Charles Sheldon in the late 1800s. Trying out how life would be truly involving Jesus, and asking what would Jesus have me do in my decisions in life. 

Level Three – Disciple Groups – Tools: God (prayer), Bible study as desired (a strong familiarity with the Bible is presumed at this level); In His Steps book. Like in the IHS book, committing to a one year effort of having Jesus involved in every aspect of life by asking what would Jesus have me do in all circumstances. Peace Pilgrim materials may be introduced at this level. 

Level Four – Apostle Groups – Tools: God (prayer), and everything else (Bible, In His Steps book, Peace Pilgrim materials, etc). This is the "all in" level, much like the original apostles who left everything giving their whole life to following Jesus. However, this is not a leaving your life behind level to something else. As Peace Pilgrim offered, most people do not need to change what they are doing in life, they simply need to change their motivation (the why and how). 

 
What It Is Not
 
 

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

— John 8:32

This is not a theology program. It is a servant program. The groups are not intended to be a place to debate who has the most correct interpretation of Scripture, or the purest dogmas, and doctrines. They are a place for developing relationships. The most important one being a relationship with Jesus, the Christ. 

It is not a place for anyone to tell someone else what Jesus would have them do. It is a place to solicit input if desired, but choices are between God and the individual. 

This is not something we are marketing. Our participation, if desired, is entirely free. Any materials we provide are entirely free. You are free to use it, share it, or discard it. This is not anything we are trying to "sell" anyone on. But, nobody can use something they are not aware is available. Any decision to avail yourself of what we offer is between you and the Holy Spirit. 

We are not promoting the books we use. If you are local enough that we can get them to you without undue expense, books may be borrowed through our lending library at no cost to you. 

It is not a cutesy trendy thing, or a peer pressure thing either way. No acronym products will be created by us to create a broader appeal. Whether just one, or many, step forward to help change the culture does not matter. Our focus is to help those who do. This is an individual decision between you and God. 

 
Getting Started
 
 

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you,
 leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps."

— 1 Peter 2:21 NIV

For us to be involved in a church, or organization, at least one contact person from that community will need to participate with us to coordinate the program. We can administer the program up front, as an offering from our organization, or in the background as administrative support of something you are making available to people. Of course, you are also free to do the whole thing on your own, without any involvement from us, if you so desire. If there are not enough people interested in following Jesus that closely in any given church, or organization, we can connect you with others so you will have a support group. 

The process is intended to be started using interest level and time availability sheets similar to the Purpose Driven Life program some years ago. A copy of the sheet can be obtained by regular mail, email, or picked up at the Center. See the sample below. If we are administering the program for you, up front or behind the scenes, we can provide these forms. It you wish to use the program without us, but would like to utilize the form, the document was created in Microsoft Word 2013. If you would like a copy of the original format emailed to you, simply email us your request. This sheet (front and back) provides similar information to what is shown above about the groups, as well as being a practical form to use in setting up groups. 

If you are administering the program yourselves, you are free to customize it to your needs.

The above jpg files are saved in their original size. Here, they have been reduced in dimensions for display. If you print from the webpage, you get the smaller size. To print the original letter size (8.5x11) right click on each image. Select "save as picture." Once the files are saved in your computer, they will print their full sizes. However, the jpg images are not as clear and crisp as the original Word document.  

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Once forms are distributed to all potentially interested persons, the process of coordinating any forms turned in begins. Grouped by levels, times, and type of meeting, similar requests are placed together to create the basic groups (level, time, and type) which will be offered. Those whose information did not match any others are then contacted to see if any of the developing groups would work for them. No one is simply turned away. Alternatives, sometimes thinking outside the boxes, are sought seeking God's guidance.  

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It was found best in the Purpose Driven Life program, that each group, as created, was free to establish their own leadership structure, and frequency of meeting. Groups could request the involvement of pastors, or lay leaders, if they felt the need, but most seemed to function best without an authoritative figure that people tended to rely on more than their own relationship with God. People were free to move between groups, or visit other groups, if desired. The process was kept fluid, so the guidance of the Holy Spirit was not stifled. Most decisions were made along the way, based on the situation, seeking God's guidance. 

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The key consideration when utilizing any of the materials is what is this telling me, or showing me, how Jesus would have me respond to the question "what would Jesus have me do?"

 
from william
 
 

"You can make no better choice in life
than a personal relationship with Jesus, the Christ."

This is not something brand new. It is a culmination highlighting the heart of all that has been done in the preceding 26 years of this ministry. Once the Jesus of Nazareth movie, and other things, got the ball rolling for me, the In His Steps book by Charles Sheldon, Peace Pilgrim materials, and Matthew 6 beginning at verse 24, had a huge impact on all aspects of my activities, and decisions. As a result, those influences carried over to the incorporated Teaching & Sharing Centers non-profit. 

The program was put together in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. I was thinking of it just recently as a "spiritual vaccine" to give us new hope. At the time I am writing this, most of us are in a rush to get a vaccine against a single disease we consider dangerous, and deadly. But, we are not "home free" if we manage to get past just one physical disease like Covid-19. We are facing multitudes of diseases, physical, mental, and spiritual. They are all intertwined, whether we like to acknowledge that, or not. Unfortunately, we cannot get a couple of shots of some liquid concoction into our arms for most of what truly ails us. But help is there if we wish to avail ourselves of it. 

During this pandemic, which has now lasted over a year, I have heard many people express the desire to get back to "normal," or the way things were before. But, the way things were before is always what gets us into whatever situation we are dealing with now. One of my favorite sayings is "when all else fails, try reading the instructions." Whatever else it might be seen as, that is really what the "In His Steps" program is all about. We can keep trying to do things our own ways, or we can simply read, and follow, the instructions. We get the kind of world we choose. It does not start at the top with the people we elect. It starts at the bottom with every one of us. It is all about the kind of people we choose to be, each of us individually, and the hundreds of choices we make every moment of every day. 

1 John 2:3-6 (New International Version) puts it quite bluntly . . .

"We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." 

"Live as Jesus did" does not mean we all need to become itinerant preachers. As mentioned above, most people do not need to change what they are doing in life, they simply need to change their motivation (the why and how). Basically, it comes down to another saying I have heard which I thought was pretty good. "If you were hauled into court for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" We can help you to be able to respond absolutely yes to that question. 

 

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