Engaging Faith - Issue #198 (May 9, 2014)
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First United Methodist Church in Roseburg, Oregon, has moved from a variety of sometimes unrelated spiritual growth offerings to an intentional discipleship process that helps people deepen their walk with Christ.
The process, referred to as Engaging Faith, focuses on a seasonal flow of engagement with God, with one another, and with life. Each season, a slate of opportunities related to these three emphases is offered to parishioners and others who wish to participate.
"Engaging God" emphasizes deepening one's relationship with God through worship, study, and other spiritual disciplines. An informal, interactive worship experience is offered each week in the fellowship hall in addition to the more traditional service in the sanctuary. Goals and milestones are established for personal and family devotions, and the church helps people find appropriate devotional materials. Ongoing online sermon chats with the pastor and seasonal short-term classes provide opportunities for spiritual formation.
"Engaging One Another" focuses on knowing and encouraging one another as a community of faith. Some of the offerings include a book group, an interdenominational youth group, and "Dine with Nine" fellowship groups.
"Engaging in Life" motivates people to embody their Christian faith through service and efforts to transform the world. Members participate in a community food pantry, meals-on-wheels, transitional housing for homeless teens, Habitat for Humanity, and other ventures to serve the community. In months that have five Sundays, the fifth Sunday is known as Church Outbound Sunday. Following the worship service, there is a church-wide project that moves the church into the local and larger community.
Questions for Discussion
- Can you describe the disciple-forming process in your congregation in ten words or less?
- How would your congregation respond to a regular Church Outbound Sunday? How would it change people’s experience of worship? How would it change their experience of service?
Kevin Witt is the former Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries at Discipleship Ministries.
Romans 12 Newsletter. Issue #198. © 2014 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this newsletter for use in United Methodist congregations. This newsletter is provided as a service of the Discipleship Ministries and is funded through World Service apportionment giving by local United Methodist congregations.