Fostering a community committed to engaging in spiritual growth through study, fellowship, and service.
This year, we're excited to launch a new opportunity to connect with others in our church body. We are calling them Community Groups. They will meet for 10 weeks, beginning the week of September 9th and concluding the week of November 11th (with spring dates to come). These 10-week Community Groups seek to foster fellowship, a sense of connection, and Christian growth. We're planning on groups of 8-10 people that will meet weekly to live life together, discuss scripture, form deeper relationships with each other and God.
This isn't replacing the ongoing bible studies and groups that normally start in the Fall. This is something in addition to that. We are highlighting these groups because they are different than our traditional bible studies: their focus is more on the relational than the informational, you are placed in groups after you sign up, and they have a clear starting and ending date.
If you are interested in our 10-week Community Groups, you can sign up at Connection Central or online and a pastor will contact you with more information.
Community Groups are for everyone, so even if you aren't sure how it will work in your schedule, we encourage you to fill out the interest form and find out more about this new opportunity. We are excited to see people grow and connect to one another and God more through these groups.
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 our pastoral staff (email@example.com).
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 provide an environment that will help them in their personal walk with God.
What does Discipleship look like at FMCSB?
Discipleship Groups are formed of 2-3 people who commit to meeting regularly over the next 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 the study component of Discipleship, we use Greg Ogden’s thorough book Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ. Your group will choose the best way to approach the content based on the needs of the group. For areas that may you may have more questions, there are recommendations for additional readings. The goal is not to read through a book and memorize it. Instead, the goal is to learn more about what it means to follow Christ and then put the things you have learned into practice. This is a lifelong endeavor that all Christians are working on.
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.
If you are interested in going a Discipleship Group or have more questions, contact Pastor T.J. and he would be happy to talk with you. We want to make sure the group is a good fit for you and where you are in your life. 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.
This year, Encounter will be moving back to meeting weekly on Sundays, but at a new time: 12:30pm. Since we will be meeting right after our third service, we will provide a light lunch (donations accepted). Lunch will begin being served at 12:15pm and the speaker will start at 12:30pm. The class will be over by 1:30pm. Childcare is available if you RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by the Thursday before each class meeting.
Our focus for this year will be looking as issues and topics that are important to us as Free Methodists as we navigate the world around us. This is more than just “What Does Free Methodist Say About…” The world around us is constantly changing and at times very confusing. We will bringing in speakers that will help make sense of some of these complexities and maybe introduce you to some new ones. We hope you can join us!
Encounter Dates 2018-2019:
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 Tammy Lashlee (email@example.com) 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 Doug (firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 224).
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.