Q & A: My Way of Love: Discipleship for Spiritual Growth
What is it? The My Way of Love Inventory is a series of confidential, challenging, and thought-provoking questions based on the most comprehensive and statistically valid data from RenewalWorks, which works with full congregations to help them refocus on spirituality and discipleship. Using baseline data from hundreds of congregations and thousands of Christians who have worked with RenewalWorks, your responses to a few simple questions will help the system identify broad characteristics of your spiritual life, give you a reflection of where you are right now, and then offer you a plan of action to grow in your discipleship and spiritual life.
Why is the Diocese of New Jersey asking me to do this? Our common purpose as a diocese is to form people as disciples of Jesus Christ so they can carry out God’s mission of reconciliation in the world. When you—and all of us—take the My Way of Love inventory this month, you’ll have an opportunity to reflect on your spiritual life and formation, and to grow spiritually.
In addition, our diocese will get a picture of where we are, as a whole, in forming ourselves as disciples of Jesus—pictured as a process of exploring, growing, deepening, and centering in our relationship with Jesus.
It’s timely for the diocese, too, as what we learn in this process can help us in discerning our call to our next bishop this winter.
Who should take the inventory? We are asking all members of every congregation in the diocese, 16 and older, to take the My Way of Love inventory. This includes people who attend infrequently, or have just started attending, as well as people who are in the pews or serving at the altar every single week—or more often. It includes people who aren’t sure about their spiritual life or discipleship, those who depend on God as the center of their life—and everyone in between.
It’s important that every adult member of a family take the inventory, as beliefs and practices, discipleship and spiritual needs often differ among family members.
How do I take it and when? The My Way of Love inventory is designed to be taken online. It will be available in both English and Spanish through our diocesan website for three weeks, from Oct. 9–30, 2022. It is designed to be taken privately and anonymously, and should take you about 15 minutes to complete. although it may take a bit longer for those who find the inventory prompts refection on your own spiritual life and discipleship. The online inventory must be completed in one session.
Can I do the inventory more than once? Just once this month, please. If you like the process and want to check in on your growth later, The Episcopal Church also offers the My Way of Love tool online for a general audience through the Episcopal Church website.
If you’ve used that tool before, no matter when, please do take it again now using our diocesan link so that you are included in the picture of the whole diocese that we are seeking.
What if I don’t understand some of the questions or am not familiar with some of the language used? Answer as best you can, and please complete the whole inventory. There are no correct or incorrect answers, so simply answer in the way that best fits what you understand.
When do I get my results? You’ll get your results by email, often within a few minutes of completing the inventory. You’ll have the option, then, to sign up to receive eight weeks of emails with coaching on practices, habits, and prayer for how to grow spiritually from where you are right now. Following a four-part routine (Warm Up—Practice—Coach’s Tip—Stretch), these weekly emails can support your unique spiritual journey and provide just the right suggestions for you to grow.
Will the diocese see my answers? No one but you will know how you have responded to the questions. We’ll receive an aggregated report on the diocese as a whole, and no identifying information will be available for any individual.
When will the diocesan results be available and what will be done with them? After the inventory is completed, the aggregated results will be available to the bishop and a team of diocesan leaders from the Discerning Our Common Call Steering Committee, the Lifelong Christian Formation Committee, and the bishop’s staff, who will work with the experts at RenewalWorks to help us interpret the data. Learnings from that data will be shared with everyone in the diocese through the website, Good News in the Garden State, and town halls or other diocesan communications late this year. The Lifelong Christian Formation Committee will be making resources and guidance available to help congregations plan formation for all ages based on what we learn, and the Discerning Our Common Call Steering Committee will share learnings to help us move forward in our common purpose.
Who can I contact to learn more? The Rev. Emily Mellott, Convener of the Discerning Our Common Call Steering Committee, can answer questions about this process for our diocese.