The most powerful experiences in my spiritual life have, almost without fail, come when I’ve been part of a group. When I was a senior in high school, a good friend and I wanted to learn more about the Bible, so we joined the Disciple Bible study class in my local church. The makeup of the class was not like any we had previously attended. The group included a couple of young parents, the husband’s parents, a pair of retired women, and my friend’s father, who was the leader. Despite our differences in age, together we read the New Testament in-depth, discussed its meaning and how it applied to our lives, and prayed for each other. I walked away knowing the Bible at a much deeper level, experiencing a deeper connection to God through prayer, and having meaningful relationships with people I would not have otherwise known.
God made us for community, and when we gather with others to go deeper in faith, we don’t just learn. We experience life-change. We challenge each other, share insights that others might never have thought of, help each other stay accountable, and support one another. We create a community of people who do life together and help each another become the people they were created to be.
This is the kind of community we are striving to create at Acts 2 and One Church, and the start of a new school year is a great time to find your place in our community—a place where you can grow as a follower of Jesus and connect with others. There are three classes I am helping lead that I want to share about.
The first is a new class called “How to Follow Jesus.” In this six-week course, we will explore the basic practices and beliefs that help us grow in our relationship with Jesus and the church. If you are new to Christian faith, Acts 2, or Methodism, or if you want to explore the basics again, this class is a great place to start. Each time I teach this material, I am challenged anew to continue growing as a follower of Jesus.
For anyone wanting a deep knowledge of what the Bible says, how to read it, and how to apply it to their lives, “Disciple Bible Study” is an excellent opportunity. As I mentioned, Disciple had a powerful effect on me, and people who participate consistently attest to the transformative power of this approach to studying the Bible. Disciple is led by our pastors, meets for 24 weeks, and provides an opportunity to journey through 80% of the Bible with a small group of people. We believe so strongly in Disciple at Acts 2 that it serves as a prerequisite for leadership in the church. This year, there are two opportunities – Sunday and Wednesday evenings.
Another new offering this fall is our “Pastors’ Class.” Participants will have the opportunity to engage face-to-face with the Acts 2 pastors as they explore a variety of topics. The class will begin with a deep dive into the spiritual practices that form our heart and character into the likeness of Jesus. The “Pastors’ Class” is designed so that participants begin attending at any time.
In addition to these new classes, we also have a variety of Bible studies and small groups such as Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), men’s coffee groups, women’s Bible studies, Dinner for Eight, JOY group, and many others.
When we gather with others to grow in our faith, God moves in powerful and life-changing ways. My hope for all of our groups and classes is that everyone would have the same kind of experience that I did in Disciple—that they would meet new friends, develop a supportive community, grow in faith, and experience God’s grace in a way that helps them experience the life that only Jesus can offer.
To learn more about how you can grow in your faith at Acts 2 and One Church, visit the Find Your Place page or attend the Find Your Place Fair after worship at Acts 2 on Sunday, Aug. 19 or at One Church on Friday, Aug. 24.