Know the Phases of Discipleship
Rolheiser suggests that we divide our spiritual development into three life chapters: Essential Discipleship, Mature or Generative Discipleship and Radical Discipleship. The first phase, Essential Discipleship, is the time where we are working at building our lives and becoming adults. This period begins at birth and can be described as the “getting our act together period.” After this phase, we enter the period of Generative or Mature Discipleship, where our gaze shifts. We are no longer focusing inward at ourselves, but looking outward. In the final stage, Radical Discipleship, our questions begin to change. We are no longer consumed in the task of contributing, or making a difference. We see the end of life. During this phase we inquire into how our departure will have the greatest impact. We ask ourselves “How can I live so that my death will be an optimal blessing for my family, my church and the world.” Like Jesus, we are called give our lives away in generosity and selflessness. While some will journey through all of the three stages, others will not.