What is THE Journey?
Last year around this time I was the newly appointed Pastor here at Arbor Pointe and I commonly asked the question, "What is the process to _________________?" (I know, a few of you are laughing right now because you heard that question so many times!) One of those questions was, "What is our process in discipleship? What does it mean at Arbor Pointe to be a disciple/follower of Jesus Christ?" What I discovered was that we had completed several studies here but had no continuing process or a consistent definition of what the attributes of a disciple here were.
Around that same time, a church member was feeling a calling toward helping with, you guessed it, developing a pathway to discipleship here at Arbor Pointe. In January we added an Education Chair to our Council (Christy Ray is the go-to on all APC education groups) and together this team has been working on developing a consistent, intentional process of discipleship that also answered the question of what it meant to be a follower/disciple of Jesus Christ here at Arbor Pointe - something that all of us could journey together on. For the longest time we called this process the amazing name "Core Curriculum"! (Kind of stirs the heart, doesn't it? No?)
In the last few weeks, it has become even more clear to me that God is moving us here at Arbor Pointe - He is taking us to a place we don't yet see - in other words, He has us on a journey. But it's not just a "life is a journey" thing because He has us on THE Journey, the most important journey any of us will ever go on - the journey into mathetes. This is the Greek word for student, pupil, or learner. It's translated most often into disciple.
THE Journey is about being a disciple/follower of Jesus Christ and what that looks like at Arbor Pointe UMC. We will tackle different topics as we go on thejourney and the sermon will correspond with each week's session. Most of the Grow Groups will be following THE Journey. There is a Facilitator's Guide for the leader of the group and there will be Participant Guides for everyone. Some of the series will have a book connected with them and we'll have them available here (though you can purchase your own if you'd like). Please don't let cost keep you from getting a book. If you would like to donate toward that cost or assist in paying for others, just make a note on your donation that it's for THE Journey. This series is one that we would like everyone to participate in. The great news is that this will not be a 'one and done' series. THE Journey will become a part of our Grow Group curriculum for the long term.
What to expect:
The first session is called THE Journey: Always Be Prepared. This will be four weeks. The first week examines the power that flows from our personal testimony in Jesus Christ. The second week will focus on 1 Peter 3, that we should always be prepared to tell everyone about the hope we have in Christ. The third week will review Paul's conversion story, looking at what we can learn from him. In the fourth and final week Grow Group members share their stories with one another in a safe, small group setting.
The second session is THE Journey: You Have Heard It Said. In this 8-week series, we will spend time in Matthew 5-7, exploring what the character of a Christian is according to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. This session will use the book, "The Sermon on the Mount" by John Stott.
The third session, THE Journey: The Path to Spiritual Growth will focus on maintaining the character of a Christian and we are looking at utilizing "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster, a classic teaching on spiritual growth.
The fourth session, THE Journey: Gifts of the Holy Spirit will focus on the fact that each of us has spiritual gifts given for the glory of God and furtherance of God's Kingdom.
The fifth session, THE Journey: Movement in Community will explore how to live out our place in mission.
At the end of THE Journey, each of us will understand clearly what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ - to be a mathetes - a disciple.
I encourage you to participate - no, I challenge you to participate!
We will be at our best if we all take THE Journey together!