You never know when you’re going to have that next great spiritual conversation with a disciple. It could be during a planned appointment at your usual meeting place in Starbucks, it could be just after a powerful message given at a conference or Sunday Service, it could even be during a chance encounter in the campus library. You just never know when God will open the door to your disciple’s heart.
When the divine lightening does strike, and your disciple begins to ask major questions about living the Christian life, it can be helpful to have a plan to provide direction. Something that you can pull out of your “back pocket” that doesn’t literally have to be in your back pocket.
The Wheel is an illustration that is simple and effective for helping a disciple grow in their understanding of what they are called to do as a Disciple of Christ. The next time you have a disciple that you think is ready to grow in their understanding of how they could increase their obedience to the Lord, you could grab a napkin or a scrap of paper to sketch out the Wheel.
The Wheel breaks down the Christian Life into three major dimensions:
The Volitional Dimensions
The Hub (representing Christ) and The Rim (representing obedience to Christ) explains how the disciple is meant relate to themselves.
The Vertical Dimensions
The top vertical spoke (representing Prayer) and the bottom vertical spoke (representing The Word) explain how the disciple is meant to relate to God.
The Horizontal Dimensions
The left horizontal spoke (representing Witnessing) and the right horizontal spoke (representing Fellowship) explains how the disciple is meant to relate to the people around them.
The article on the Navigator’s website provides a simple explanation of each dimension as well the appropriate scripture to support it. If you don’t have time to memorize the Wheel consider printing out the instructions from the website and keeping it in your Bible, or saving a PDF of it on your Smart Phone. In time and with experience explaining it, you may end up memorizing it anyway.
Bringing the Wheel to Life
The Wheel illustration is meant to provide an easy way to cover all the aspects of the Christian life that encourage growth and obedience in a way that is easier to remember for visual learners. However, to use the Wheel as effectively as it is meant to be used, it takes some prep work on the part of the discipler:
The Illustration needs to be remembered with all the label in the proper locations. For instance you shouldn’t forget that ‘Prayer’ is meant to be in a vertical spoke and ‘Fellowship’ is meant to be an horizontal spoke. The vertical and horizontal dimensions are meant to follow along with the idea of our relationship with God being a vertical relationship and our relationships with others being horizontal relationships. Therefore the metaphor breaks down and looses some of its effectiveness if you forget what component goes where.
There are two scripture references for each component of the Wheel. If you leave out these references then you are missing an opportunity to show your disciple that what you are teaching them is based upon the Word and not some convention of the church or your ministry.
These two elements show how important it is to either take the time to memorize the Wheel or come up with a reliable way to retrieve the information. Memorization is obviously the preferred method since this tool’s greatest strength is the way it can be implemented at any time without warning.
Tip: The Wheel can be taken to the next level in a spiritual conversation if you as a discipler have taken the time to think through how the Wheel is reflected in your life. Be prepared to provide personal and stories and examples of all the components to really bring the ideas to life. If you are planning to use the Wheel with a specific disciple rather than simply have it as a tool ready in your personal toolbox, then it would be helpful to think of personalized suggestions and challenges for your disciple for each component.
In this way, the Wheel is really what you make it. If you simply draw out the picture and explain each dimension without making it real to your life and your disciple’s life then really you’ve just had an academic exercise rather than a impacting spiritual conversation.