As a part of our continuing and evolving understanding of our Discipleship Pathway here at First United Methodist Church, the Adult Discipleship Team has helped to define the categories of 1) Exploring Christ 2) Knowing Christ 3) Growing in Christ and 4) Christ Centered. Every one of us fits into one of these four descriptions on the continuum. Some of us have been in the same “bucket” for years not exactly knowing how we move on or if we need to move on. We hope the following information will help to clarify where you are and how you may need to move along the pathway with God’s grace (those big words at the top) helping you along the way.
Exploring Christ: Do I wonder about the claims of Christianity? Do I struggle with my belief in Christ, but not God? Do I consider myself a Christian even though I doubt things about Christ? Then you are Exploring Christ.
Knowing Christ: Do I believe in Jesus and am I working to know Him better? Do I feel comfortable with spiritual practices such as prayer, study, and worship? Do I hesitate to take my faith outside of the church walls? Then you are Knowing Christ.
Growing in Christ Do I depend on Christ every day? Do I see Christ as personal, someone who assists me daily? Do I turn to Christ daily for help and guidance as I face life’s issues? Do I connect daily with God through personal spiritual practices? Then you are Growing in Christ.
Christ Centered Do I identify my relationship with Christ as the most important relationship in my life? Do I see my life as fully surrendered to Jesus and His agenda? Then you are Christ Centered.
Another way to help us understand this is using an analogy of a car. Perhaps you believe in God but don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus so therefore He’s standing outside the car. (Exploring Christ) Or maybe you know Him, but not really well so He's in the backseat where He rides with you to church and back home but not much of anywhere else (Knowing Christ). Or maybe you have gotten to know Him through daily conversation with Him and allow Him to sit in the front passenger seat where He can help give you directions (Growing in Christ). Or perhaps you have let go of the wheel and Jesus is actually driving your car. He is the most important relationship in your life and you have fully surrendered to His agenda (Christ Centered).
Wherever you are, or wherever your Jesus is, the point is that there is always room to move - to grow - to press on along the pathway. We hope that the use of these symbols in conjunction with the advertising of classes and small groups will help you select discipleship opportunities that fit where you are or where you are going. Because we’re BETTER TOGETHER.
Better Together Small Groups:
A Small group is a micro-community of faith where men and women can do life together. We have women’s, men’s and mixed groups that meet regularly. Though studies may be used to help with discussion, they are not the primary focus of the group. The group is designed to be small (3-10 members) so that more authentic relationships can be developed. Following our Wesleyan understanding for the importance of the early “bands" for our spiritual formation, we encourage all members to participate in an ongoing small group. There are short-term groups that form throughout the year that serve as “on ramps” for a long-term group. They also provide people the opportunity to get to know new people outside of their peer group or Sunday School class. We believe that small groups fall under all the discipleship pathway levels, but that it is a means to being Christ Centered as you connect deeply with others. This is the goal of adult discipleship at First United Methodist Church.
Long-Term Small Groups:
Women’s Small Groups - Meet in homes and on campus on Wednesday mornings and evenings, and Thursday mornings
Men’s Small Groups - Meet on Tuesday morning and Wednesday evenings on campus
Mixed Small Groups - Meet in homes and on Wednesday evenings on campus
Short Term Small Groups - seasonal and short-term churchwide studies that vary from 4-8 weeks
Look Ahead and Mark Your Calendar for New Studies Beginning in September
Register for the following studies at the registration table outside the church office.
Disciple IV: Under the Tree of Life begins Wednesday, September 5 and is open to anyone who take taken Disciple I. This class is a 32-week study of the Old Testament Writings, the Gospel of John, the Epistles of John, James, Jude, and Revelation. The phrase “under the tree” conveys the promise of finding shelter, security, and rest in God’s love. Participants will see the entire process of living toward final completion of rest and reward. Leader: Marie Manning. Wednesdays, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Conference Room A, Bldg. 3. Cost: $40.
Two New Small Group Opportunities for Men and Women on Wednesdays, September 19 - October 24 at 6:30 PM.
Men’s Small Group led by Thad Haygood. Join Thad as he guides a discussion on issues that matter to young men. No cost.
Grace not Perfection, a study by Emily Ley: In this study, women will learn how to embrace God's grace, let go of "perfection," create margin for what matters, build genuine relationships, and define the life they want to have. Facilitators: Teresa Breen, Debbie Foreman, Kelly Parrish and Kendyl White. Study Guide: $8.00
It's Not Too Late to Join the Following Studies.
ACTS Study Part 2. Join Brandon Keaton as we complete our road trip through the Book of Acts. Beginning Monday, August 6 at 6:00 PM in Conference Room A, we will continue our verse-by-verse study of Acts beginning at chapter 15 and continuing through to the end of the book. You do not have to have participated in the first half to enjoy this all new 12-week course. No cost. For further information contact Brandon Keaton in the church office.
The Art of Parenting - This six-week interactive course helps parents find new ways to integrate faith into everyday parenting moments. Parents will find fresh insights on parenting children of different ages and design a parenting plan unique to each child’s personality and gifting. Open to parents of preschool and elementary age children. Facilitated by Kay Brooks Hatfield, Ed.D., Executive Director of Aspire Behavioral Health. Wednesday evenings beginning August 8 in Sapp Conference Room, 6:30-7:15 PM. Cost: $12.
Sticky Faith: A Five-Week Discussion for the Parents of Youth - Is the Bible relevant? Does science disprove faith? Can I take a break from church when I go to college? If I know Jesus, does it matter what I do? Are all sins equal? Your students ask tough questions and we’d like to offer a little support. Join us on Sundays, beginning August 12, 4:30-5:15 PM, Conference Room A. Facilitated by Laurel Griffith. Optional book available - $10.
Hebrews - In this challenging study, we will connect the dots between the Old and New Testaments and discover that there is no room for complacency in our Christian journey. Hebrews places the spotlight on Jesus and calls us to an intimacy with our Lord and Savior. Join us as we learn how to practically apply this deeply theological book to our everyday lives. Meets on Tuesdays at 10:30 AM in Sapp Conference Room beginning August 7, and on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM in Conference Room A beginning August 8. Facilitated by Laurel Griffith.
Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World - A Study for Women. Anxiety just comes with life. However, as God's Word reveals, it doesn't have to dominate life. In this five-session Bible study, bestselling author Max Lucado looks at seven admonitions from the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:4-8 that lead to one wonderful promise: "The peace of God which surpasses all understanding." We can be anxious for nothing, and discover true peace from God that surpasses all human understanding. Beginning Sunday, August 12, 4:30-5:30 PM, in Sapp Conference Room. Cost: $7. Facilitated by Carol Marbury.
*All sign ups for new small groups or classes are located on the book table in the church office or by emailing Laurel Griffith at [email protected].
Classes range from exploring Christ to Christ Centered on the Discipleship Pathway continuum. Some classes cover all stages while others are more specifically targeted. Click the link below to learn more about specific classes.
Tuesday Morning Women’s Bible
We gather at 10:30 AM on Tuesday mornings in Sapp Conference Room for a time of fellowship and Bible Study. We typically do 6-8 week studies so women can hop in and out of the study as needed. We meet until noon. Child care is always provided. Cost varies with the study but usually about $13 for a participant book. We often use video led studies. The beginning of class includes a time to review the reading or last week’s highlights. We have large group time for discussion and small group time where we dive into the text deeper. Most recently, we have used curriculum from the Promised Land series by Ray Vander Laan and several studies by Jessica Lagrone. This class has varied ages and stages along the Discipleship Pathway. All are welcome!