The ideas of Socratic dialogue and complex social networks are not new. A first-century movement whose members called themselves The Way counted among its members people from a wide geographic area and numerous cultural backgrounds, and its membership grew exponentially for hundreds of years.

The Way grew from dozens of members to tens of millions in roughly 300 years against the odds.

Followers of The Way should have had difficulties sustaining, much less growing, their movement. People did not have access to modern communication systems (the Internet, telephones, and postal systems) we take for granted in most of today’s world. People could travel only as far and as fast as boats, animals, and walking would take them. People who were members of the movement, in particular, often suffered imprisonment, torture, and death for their association with it. Yet, the movement continued to gain members, who today call themselves Christians.

Today, members of the Christian Church in the areas of the world sometimes referred to as the Global South often face the same issues that should have prevented the movement’s growth in the first century. In these areas of the world where churches and seminaries are illegal institutions, and missionaries are not welcome, Christians must rely on small gatherings of people to better develop an understanding of how their faith should impact their personal, family, and community lives. The Christian movement is growing in the areas where people cannot rely on external institutions to convert, develop, and train people. In the Western world, where people have access not only to these type of institutions but also a history of Christian cultural influence, 80% of Christian children leave the faith before reaching adulthood.

Socratic dialogue and complex social networks can be used to address organizational teamwork and training needs in the modern era in a way that rapidly scales, the way early Christian communities had purpose and built one another up toward skillful living. First Century Work exists to help organizations whose growth or other circumstances have impacted or are likely to impact teamwork and skill development within their workforces.

First Century Work helps modern organizations develop workforces who understand the organization’s mission and plug themselves into it. First Century Work then assists organizations in building training and assessment programs that reflect the principles that guide the organization toward achieving its mission. This two-phase approach relies heavily on incorporating a complex social network of groups who engage in Socratic dialogues about real-life work situations — “If this is our mission, and these are the principles that will get us there, how do I respond to this situation?”