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 Soon
Register for the following studies at the registration table outside the church office.
The Book of Daniel - In this study, we will encounter Daniel and his friends living victoriously in a dangerous world. Join us as we learn together how to thrive in the midst of stress and navigate our challenging society without compromise. Tuesdays, Ford Hall, Bldg. 3, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM and Wednesdays, Conference Room A, Bldg. 3, 6:30-7:30 PM.
Psalm 23: Join Anna Miller for a closer look at the 23rd Psalm and have a time of prayer and worship. Wednesdays at 6:30 PM. Location: Walden Chapel, Bldg. 3. No cost.
This year we are recommending Almost Christmas: A Wesleyan Advent Experience as our Advent study. A book, a study guide, and a 31-day devotional focus on helping the reader make a wholehearted commitment to Christ during the season of Advent. This four-week study will work for individuals, Sunday school classes, and small groups. You can view sample copies at the literature table outside the church offices. Sign up to receive your copies (we will order for you) or you can order your own from Amazon or Cokesbury Bookstore. Feel free to contact Laurel if you have questions or would like more information about the study. Devotional Book $7.99, Leader Guide $10.99, Book $12.99.
*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!