Fostering a community committed to engaging in spiritual growth through study, fellowship, and service.
Growing as a Christian is not something that happens merely in isolation; it is a communal endeavor. Taking part in a small group allows you the chance to grow closer to God while growing closer to others. It is a time of forming meaningful relationships with those you might see on Sunday mornings while experiencing God in a communal way. Part of the Christian life involves discussing, struggling, celebrating, and praying with our sisters and brothers in Christ for the encouragement and growth of all.
At FMCSB, we offer numerous small groups throughout the year to meet the different needs of our community. Many groups are seasonal and function on a school-year schedule (September-May) while others year-round. All of our groups incorporate some combination of study, prayer, accountability, outreach, worship, and/or service.
Every week, in our Sunday bulletin insert, we list the small groups that are meeting in the coming week. You can also find longer descriptions of these groups on our website. If you have any questions about what group might be a good fit for you or if you are interested in leading a small group, please contact Pastor T.J (email@example.com or ext. 225).
Christians are a people who respond to the call to be followers of Christ. Discipleship is the process by which these Christians mature in their faith and grow closer to God. Being disciples of Jesus and discipling others is the bulk of the Christian life. Discipleship takes time and repetition. This means that discipleship and our spiritual formation are part of the Christian life from beginning to end. At FMCSB, we seek to equip those who are seeking a closer relationship with God so that they can know God better and their life can reflect that relationship.
Who should sign up for Discipleship?
Discipleship is designed to help those who want to grow in their faith. This could be someone who is new to the faith and wants to learn more. This could be someone who doesn’t have much experience with the Bible and wants to know more about what it says. This could be someone who has a lot of questions. This could be a Christian who wants to re-engage their faith. This could even be a lifelong Christian who wants to grow. The short answer is that it could be just about anyone. Since Discipleship is so important, we want to meet people where they are and provided an environment that will help them in their personal walk with God.
What does Discipleship look like at FMCSB?
There is no “one-size-fits-all” way to approach Discipleship. In general, your Discipleship time will consist of meeting with a mentor regularly over the course of several months. The time will be spent in fellowship, prayer, and studying. There is flexibility in this because everyone comes to Discipleship with a different background and situation in life.
For study component of Discipleship, there are multiple options. After meeting with a pastor, we will suggest a potential course of study to take. There are a lot of options but we want to help find the path that will help you the most in your current relationship with God. These paths are broken down into 4 main categories (which align with the Wesleyan sources of theology): Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience.
- Scripture: Reading a book of the bible and discussing themes and questions that come up. This may also go along with a bible study designed to help guide discussions.
- Tradition: Going through the writings of Christians who have come before us like St. Augustine or C.S. Lewis. It can be helpful to see how other Christians talk about God in order for us to find language to do the same.
- Reason: As rational beings, we love to find order and structure. This path focuses on using Greg Ogden’s Discipleship Essentials handbook. It will guide you through the main tenets of the faith with giving you the space to make connections.
- Experience: This avenue looks to authors who focus on the practicality of living life as a Christian. Writers like John Ortberg and Philip Yancey would be helpful in this area.
What commitment does Discipleship require?
Since Discipleship does not happen without intentionality, we want to set up expectations. Once you meet with your group, you will discuss what expectations everyone has. A typical timeframe is 6-12 months of meeting regularly. Groups often put other expectations in place to keep one another accountable and to get the most out of their time. Examples might include expectations about confidentiality, communication, readings, spiritual practices, or self-awareness.
The first thing to do if you are interested in Discipleship is to contact a pastor. Once you do that we will meet with you so we can best assess what you are looking for and who might be a good mentor for you. Once we have found someone, we will make introductions. If it appears that this will work for everyone, then your group will work on expectations and then schedule times to meet. Our prayer is that God meets you in this process and that you feel closer to God.
Christian education is a lifelong process. During our Encounter classes, we hope to provide a forum for scholarship, teaching, discussions, and questions. It is our goal that we would encounter God, encounter God’s Word, encounter others, encounter ourselves, and encounter the larger Christian community. While the topics discussed will be of interest to Christians, they will also raise questions that non-Christians may want to engage with and we would encourage this. Encounter is open to all who are willing to listen, learn, and engage.
With growing space constraints on Sunday mornings, we have decided to move our Encounter classes to Thursdays. This move also allows anyone, regardless of which service you normally attend or if you even attend FMCSB, to be able to come to Encounter. We will also be moving to a once per month format in order to better fit the schedules of speakers. It is our hope that these changes will create an even stronger learning environment at FCMSB for adults and provide an avenue to invite others to learn with you.
This year, we will be changing Encounter to meet at 7pm on the third Thursday of every month during the school year (September-May) except for December. This will be a time of learning from a wonderful speaker, engaging with the matter, and asking questions. Light desserts will also be served. Please RSVP for childcare by the Sunday prior to the Encounter class. Come with a sharp mind and an open heart as we seek to encounter all that God has for us.
Encounter Dates 2017-2018:
For recordings of past Encounter classes, please visit the “Sermons and Classes” page on our website.
Women’s breakfasts, lunches, desserts and events including our spring retreat are to foster fellowship, encourage faith, and provide spaces for outreach. Continue to follow our News and Events page and email newsletter for times and dates, or contact Pastor Nikki (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information!
Our yearly retreat for men is held in the Fall and is a great time for fellowship and growing closer to God. Throughout the year, we hold different events for men to come together, study the Bible, enjoy each other’s company, and share the gifts God has given us all. Be on the lookout for different events on our News & Events page on our website.
For questions about our Men’s Ministry, contact Pastor T.J. (email@example.com or ext. 225).
WHAT IS THE FOUNDRY?
It’s a forum for spiritual formation at FMCSB. The Foundry melds Sunday worship, spiritual disciplines and twice-monthly home groups - all aimed at fostering an authentic and deliberate walk with Christ and each other.
WHAT’S BEHIND THE FOUNDRY?
Simply put, we want to create a micro community within the church to encourage discipleship and life together, which will in turn inform how we engage with the world outside the church. Through smaller intimate worship services, home group gatherings to talk through our faith and our lives, and encouraging one another in spiritual disciplines, we’ll all move closer to understanding “how do I live this Christian life?”
So, what are the key elements?
Sunday worship: We’ve created our own intimate Sunday worship experience for two Sundays a month. We’ll sing, read, practice and encourage one another in spiritual disciplines, pray for one another, and share from scripture.
Twice monthly home groups: We gather in small groups of roughly ten people to discuss what we are reading, and to pray, eat, talk, and be cared for in a small group format. We also consider together how we can best translate all we are learning into our engagement with neighbor and the wider world.
Multi-generational: We want The Foundry to be as diverse as possible. FMCSB provides childcare and child education as needed.
For How long do people commit to the foundry?
Recognizing that spiritual formation does not happen in a weekend, we are seeking a commitment for 11 months. The current cohort began in February 2017 and will continue until Christmas 2017.
For further information, please contact Jim Wright:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-618-1468.
Bible Reading Plans
God's Word is a perfect avenue to explore the ways God has worked in history and the ways He promises to be active in our own lives. Here are a few guides for reading through parts or all of the Bible.