In 2008 my wife Kathleen Self completed the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon with Team in Training, raising funds for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. Our lives had been touched by dear friends succumbing and surviving this disease, so Kathy embarked on a brand new journey. Though she lives an active life, Kathy had never run long distances or attempted anything like this.

Kathy joined a group called Team In Training and for six months prepared for the big day. She was immediately enveloped by caring, committed people all sharing her passion. Experts counseled on nutrition, stetching, pacing and proper hydration and rest. Coaches led the new participants on a graduated journey, increasing the challenges without our undue stress or risk of injury. Kathy still comments on the lifelong friends she made and the esprit de corps shared by the group.

When the day came, Kathy was ready. She prepared for a walk/run style of race, not an Olympic event. Seven hours later, she crossed the finish line, with family and friends cheering and over $3,000 raised for research. No blisters, no cramps, no pain other that the expected exhaustion fueled by the exhilaration of finishing well.

Christian discipleship is a marathon. Hebrews 12 reminds us to run our race faithfully, with our eyes fixed on Jesus, the One who completed the race and now by His Spirit empowers our journey as well. UNLIKE worldly races, our efforts are not pursued in isolation. God has placed us in the Body of Christ (Romans 12l I Corinthians 12) and has an entire team prepared so we can run and finish well. Biblical stories, the fidelity of believers in history and our current pastors, leaders and friends are all cheering us on.

The Discipleship Dynamics Assessment is a great tool for knowing what areas of training need help and the ones that are strong. Defining where we are leads us to Discovering the resources we need, thus allowing accuracy as we are discipled and Disciple others. There is no “failure” or “perfection” in the scores and descriptions we offer. We are all in the race. As long as we keep moving, all the resources of heaven are available to help us go forward.

I (Charlie Self) recently joined my 31-year-old son and some of his peers for a lively evening of basketball. While I did not embarrass myself, the next morning I “discovered” some new aches and evidence of muscles unused! If I was going to play again, I needed to alter my workouts (I am in the gym often) and prepare wisely.

Whether you are brand new in your Christian journey, renewing your faith, or a seasoned veteran, the Assessment can help focus your whole-life “workouts” and propel you ahead. I am so proud of Kathy – but it took a team. God’s team is ready for you…and you are part of his team for others. Let’s get moving forward together!