Soul Connection Trail Creation
Congratulations! You have followed one (or more Trails) in Soul Connection, and you are interested in writing a Trail of your own. That’s fantastic! While the app itself is amazing, the really important part is the content, i.e., the Trail directions which guide the user as they spend a day with God. This is a Trail Guide. New Trail Guides must be added frequently to keep the content fresh. Thank you for participating!
What is Soul Connection?
This app is designed to be a help, or a guide, to assist someone in spending an extended time with God, as much as a full day. We expect that each Trail will take 6-8 hours to follow from beginning to end. Soul Connection is not designed to replace anyone’s daily devotional or Bible study and prayer times.
The purpose of Soul Connection is to lead someone into a deeper, more intimate walk with God, to develop a better listening ear, and to better understand His unconditional love. The seven Pathways are: Activist, Contemplative, Creation, Relational, Serving, Studious, and Worship. While some of these Pathways may be more active in nature, the purpose is NOT to do more stuff, but rather to guide a follower of Jesus into spending time with God in different ways.
The seven Pathways are based in part on the work of Gary Thomas, John Ortberg, and others. Please see the full bibliography attached at the end. The essential concept is that God has created us with different personalities and temperaments, and thus we connect to Him in different ways. These seven Pathways may not be the only ways in which people connect with God, but likely are the most common. The Pathways are described below.
As you write a Trail Guide, keep this in mind: the purpose is to connect with God. It is not to build a stronger relationship with your spouse, or to organize a food pantry in your church, or produce a worship CD. While these elements or activities may be used in a Trail they are not the goal, or purpose. The ultimate purpose should always be connecting with God as Creator. Also, following a Trail may result in the motivation to change something in your life or in your world.
We use a fictional user “Danny or Danielle the Disciple” to help keep us focused as we write Trail Guides. They are a believer, familiar with using technology, may or may not have formal Bible training, is connected to a regular fellowship of believers, and is looking for ways to move deeper in their walk with God.
How do I write a Trail Guide?
First, spend time in prayer, asking God to lead you in creating a Trail Guide. Read several of the existing Trails to understand what you are creating. Also, if possible, read several of the works we reference in the bibliography.
Next, decide on a Pathway. Maybe it is one you find interesting or matches you best. However, maybe it is the one to which God leads you. Choose the particular Trail topic you want to develop, such as “Bread Baking” or “Cross-Reference Study.” (These are actual Trail Guides in the app today.) Think about how to lead someone like Danielle into a closer walk with God for a day (6-8 hours or more) using your chosen topic. Be creative! Remember the purpose.
Plan an outline around how you want Danny to connect with God during the day. You may include physical activities, Scripture reading, meditation thoughts, prayer suggestions, etc. You may direct him to go somewhere, such as a park, or a forest, or an art gallery. Ask Danny to be observant of things around him and to spend time listening to God and reflecting. Include things to journal and ways to respond to God in praise and prayer.
Every Trail should be based on the truth of Scripture, and should rely on actual Scripture references and passages to read.
Each Trail Guide has 5 Steps: Prepare, Be Still, Engage, Reflect, and Live (live out). In the template below are further descriptions of what should be in each Step. Each step of the template contains instructions on how to write your text together with the standardized text that we suggest you include for consistency. The instructions also include guidelines for the length of each Step.
Remember that you can guide Danielle into a lot of reflection in a short amount of words. The length of the Trail Guide does not have to indicate the time involved. For example, you could ask her to spend several hours in an art exhibit, making notes of how the beauty of the art points her to God. Few words, but a long time.
Things to avoid
Greater Europe Mission (www.gemission.org) is ecumenical and non-denominational. Your Trail Guide should focus on ways to connect personally with the Father, which is a common belief system across all Christian denominations and movements. Please do not write a Trail Guide to advance any one doctrinal belief system, political position, or the like. The focus needs to remain between the disciple and God. We reserve the right to approve only Trail guides that conform to the GEM Statement of Faith and follow these guidelines.
Some of the Pathways, such as Activist and Serving, may lend themselves to focus on what we do rather than who we are. Trail Guides in these Pathways can be more of a challenge to write, but the focus needs to be on Danielle’s relationship with God. While you may use acts of service in your Trail Guide, the focus is always to help people connect with Him more intimately. Also, avoid using these Pathways to give her a guilty conscience, or to advance any one particular type of service, or activist thinking.
How to submit a Trail Guide
We have both MS Word and Google Docs templates listed here. If you want to write your Trail Guide using another word processor, that’s fine, too. Click on either of the two links below: For Google Docs, you will need to make a copy of the template to start adding your content. For MS Word you need to click on the link and then download the file to your computer.
Start writing your Trail Guide.
Send your completed Trail Guide to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will acknowledge receipt of your document within a few days. One of our editors will review and proofread the doc. If we need to make any changes, we will send it back to you for approval. We will not publish anything without your approval of all edits.
We do not credit the authors of Trails by name. This is based on our prayerful consideration of the purpose of the app. Please understand that content you submit will be added to the Soul Connection app shortly after you approve it, unless you specify a future date submittal. The content will become part of the Soul Connection app and covered by the copyright of the app. GEM does not pay for Trail content creation.
When you submit a Trail that is accepted and published, you grant a perpetual, non-exclusive, license to Greater Europe Mission to use it within the Soul Connection app.