Early adopters

Posted May 21, 2014 | The Discipleship Project


By Richie Sanchez

Richie SanchezEarly adopters want to be among the first to experience and take full advantage of new technology and products. People become an early adopters for several reasons. Perhaps the newness of the ideas and applications is appealing. They race ahead so as not to be among the last to know or try a product. Perhaps they want to take full advantage of something they think could improve their life and health.

I wear a wristband that tracks my activity and provides information about my life or health. It is a small part of what I use to stay on target and reach my goals for fitness. It provides me with a daily (or hourly) reminder of the effort I need to put forth in order to achieve those goals. When I have been sedentary and stagnant for a stretch of time, it flashes: Go Richie! Go Richie! Go Richie! Truthfully, it flashes more often than I’d like to admit.

For a long time, seminary has been an important place to shape a call to ministry. It provides a sacred space where both theological educators and those called to the ministry can engage each other for the sake, life, and health of the church. For years, I’ve wondered whether there was a new idea or application that might help each track, measure, and support the efforts of those called to ministry. What if we had something to help track our activity toward the goal of becoming effective ministers and giving the church what it deserves—our best? What if we could find ways or opportunities to help improve, form, or shape to each other’s ministries? And more specifically, how might we find ways to respond to the current needs and changes of our communities?

My journey in theological education and ministry preparation has spanned several years and seminaries. I have experienced several models of education, from the physical classroom to courses held in cyberspace. Hence, the prospect of taking part in TDP, “a groundbreaking approach to theological education,” for me carries great appeal and high expectation. I was eager to take part in a pedagogical approach that connected students and mentors in a cohort to deal with some of the questions mentioned above.

My mentors and fellow cohort members (affectionately known as TDPers) serve as the trackers, measurers, and supporters of my efforts in the pursuit of God’s call upon my life. We have been able to remove the illusion of invincibility sometimes propagated in ministry and create a sacred space for vulnerability. We work to mutually enjoy each other’s journey and see each other with eyes of great promise for ministry. When I have been sedentary and stagnant for a stretch of time, they’ll say: Go Richie! Go Richie! Go Richie!

We’re the early adopters in theological education. I won’t need the wristband now that I have TDPers who will be there with me. It is a blessed experience to see the growth and development of my fellow TDPers. To say the least, I’m grateful for the project and look forward to the promise of our cohort’s journey together for the years to come.

Richie Sanchez is approaching his last year as a M.Div./M.A.M.C.E. dual degree student and is a member of the second cohort of The Discipleship Project. He is a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. He is currently serving as a Student Minister at Light of the World Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Indianapolis, IN.

The Discipleship Project is a groundbreaking approach to theological education at Christian Theological Seminary that is inspired by Jesus’ pedagogy in the New Testament gospels. To request permission to repost this content, please contact centerforpastoralexcellence@cts.edu.