The spring School of Discipleship courses are starting back up. Take a look at the course titles and descriptions below. We hope to see you in one of the courses.CONTINUE READING
Stream / Discipleship
INAUGURAL HEART OF THE CITY LECTURE SERIES
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 7:00–9:00PM
Flourishing people are strong and weak. Two common temptations lure us away from abundant living – withdrawing into safety or grasping for power. With the characteristic insight, memorable stories and hopeful realism he is known for, Andy Crouch shows us how to walk this path so that the image of God can shine through us.
Heart of the City Foundation, in partnership with The Collaborative, is pleased to welcome Andy Crouch, former executive editor of Christianity Today. He serves on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. His work and writing have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine.
Tickets are free and are now available. Join us for a complimentary dessert following the lecture, where Andy Crouch will be signing copies of his new book, Strong and Weak.
in partnership with
In my recent sermon on January 1, I issued a challenge to the congregation. You see, I love setting New Year’s resolutions. The reason I love them is because I am a big believer in setting goals. I know, however, that goals without concrete steps or strategy is worthless. We all need a plan of action if we actually want to get to where want to go!
Many people will set New Year’s resolutions for themselves. Many of those resolutions deal with losing weight or cutting out caffeine. I want to share with you my resolutions for this next year. For me, I want to be more Christ-like in 2017. In order for that to happen, I know I need to be disciplines and intentional. I offer these to encourage you to be intentional about your own spiritual growth and the growth of those you lead. Enjoy!
In 2017, I resolve to do the following:
- I will set aside time each day for God.
- My prayer each morning will be “May I be a blessing to someone today.”
- I am going to give more than I receive, in terms of relationships.
- I will condemn others less, and extend grace more.
- The richness of my year will be determined, not by how much is in the bank, but how much is in my heart.
- I am going to live joyfully, as though each day is a gift.
- I am going to be grateful for friends, family, and my church family.
- In a world that is incredibly divisive, I will be an agent of unity and love, as I witness to others.
- My battle will not be with people, but with spiritual darkness.
- In 2017, I resolve to live each day as if it were Christmas…and Easter!
Happy New Year!
On the JOURNEY with you,
Pastor JackCONTINUE READING
News and updates for those leading a small group, Sunday School class, School of Discipleship class, or have facilitated some other ministry expression at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando.CONTINUE READING
Dear Journey Leaders,
First, I want to thank you for your willingness to heed God’s call to leadership. The task of helping others along the JOURNEY of discipleship is not easy, but so vital to the mission God has given us.
Second, I want to share with you the three-fold purpose of this monthly communication - cast vision, communicate relevant information about upcoming events and opportunities, and share resources:
- VISION: This monthly communication will keep you connected to our larger vision of discipleship. You see, we believe our distinct calling as the Church of Jesus Christ, is to make disciples or followers of Jesus and this entails facilitating an ongoing, intimate, and growing relationship with Jesus. All of our efforts, regardless of the group or educational opportunity, should be toward that end.
- COMMUNICATION: This monthly communication will - get ready for this – communicate any upcoming events we of which we want you to be aware. Specifically, we will keep you up-to-date on events we would like to you to share with your group/class.
- RESOURCES: We further want to help you in your efforts at teaching and leading be giving you access to additional resources (including Right Now Media and possible curriculum) you might consider.
My hope and prayer is that you will feel supported and connected in your efforts in leading others in the JOURNEY of discipleship.
This fall, we will begin utilizing the language of “journey” as we talk about discipleship. The metaphor of “journey” conveys dynamic movement and growth toward a desired destination. Our hope is that the people of our congregation would progress through and grow within that journey. As a leader in our congregation, your task is to help the people under your care in their respective journeys and, hopefully, we are all journey-ing toward Jesus!
When we speak of discipleship, we explicitly mean an ongoing, intimate and growing relationship with Jesus. Thus, this journey entails becoming “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) as we are “conformed to the image of Christ” (Romans 8:29). When I think about the awesome responsibility of leading others, I know that I cannot ask of others what I am not willing to do myself. Consequently, leading others in the journey is as much about my own transformation as it is about others’ transformation. As I strive to lead, two specific questions keep me on track. My hope is they might help you in the same way they help me:
Am I closer to Jesus today when compared to yesterday?
Are the people I lead closer to Jesus today when compared to yesterday?
Here is a little something to ponder - If the answer to either of these questions is no, then something needs to change. What might that be for you and the people you lead?
Our next church wide study will begin on January 15. The sermon series title will be “Once Upon a Time” and the study guide is called Reframe. Stay tuned for more info…
So how do you help the people you lead get connected to the journey?
This fall, we unveiled several tools to help the people of First Pres. The first is our Journey Assessment. The Journey Assessment is our trail map. It gives you an opportunity to self-assess and reveal to you that “You are here,” and will provide a starting point along the map of your journey. You can find it at fpco.org/journey.
Second, we have created a Journey Catalog. The catalog presents various opportunities to help facilitate spiritual growth and development. From in-depth studies of the Bible, to classes that challenge you to think about how your faith fits into your work, to how to raise your children as Christians, the catalog includes all opportunities within the church including, but not limited to, Small Groups, Sunday School, School of Discipleship, The Collaborative Orlando, and Congregational Care Ministries.
As you have opportunities to lead the people under your charge, please know these resources are available to you!
On the JOURNEY with you,
One of my all-time favorite lines from literature comes from, not surprisingly, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The line is part of a poem within the story and it reads, “Not all those who wander are lost.” Because I suffer from an insatiable case of wanderlust, this line speaks to me in so many ways and on different levels. I love putting on a backpack and heading out into the wilderness. It doesn’t matter if it’s up a mountain, around a lake, or on a beach. I have found those times to be among the most restorative moments of my life. Going on an adventure? Sign me up, Gandalf!
On another level, life itself can be considered an adventure. Life is wrought with play and work, joys and sorrows, celebrations and struggles, and high and low points. For some, life presents opportunities for new experiences, opportunities, and relationships. Each and every day affords something new and exciting or tests our endurance. Many, however, wander through life with no sense of purpose or fulfillment. They have no clear compass bearing, drifting from one event or relationship to the next. Sadly, they are wandering and lost. We know that this is not what God wants for us and, in fact, has something far better.
Beginning the journey together
This fall, we will begin introducing the idea of the “journey” as we talk about discipleship. The metaphor of “journey” conveys dynamic movement and growth with a purpose. Our hope is that our church family would progress through and grow within that journey. When we speak of discipleship, we're talking about an ongoing, intimate and growing relationship with Jesus. Thus, this journey entails becoming “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5: 17) as we are “conformed to the image of Christ” (Romans 8:29).
When you embark on a hike, you typically start at a trailhead. At the trailhead, there is often a map that serves as a marker to indicate your starting point and where you need to go. In a very similar way, the journey of discipleship begins with a trailhead or starting point, followed by different points along the path. So we want to provide you with a marker and direction as you pursue your relationship with God because, quite honestly, sometimes the journey is easy and fun, but sometimes the journey is difficult and challenging. Regardless of where you are in the journey, WE DON’T WANT YOU TO GET LOST! We want to challenge you and show you how to move toward growth and spiritual maturity.
Find your next steps
So how do you discover your next steps in the journey? This Fall, we are unveiling several new tools to help you. The first is our Journey Assessment. (Think of it like our trail map.) It will give you an opportunity to self-assess and help you find that “You are here,” spot on the map. It will also provide a starting point along the map of your journey.
Second, we have created a Discipleship Catalog for the journey. The catalog presents various opportunities to help facilitate your spiritual growth and development. From in-depth studies of the Bible; to classes that challenge you to think about how your faith fits into your work, to ways you can connect with your church family, the catalog includes all the opportunities within the church this Fall.
Finally, an easy way to get connected into the life of the church is to join a small group. This Fall, our congregation will participate in a Bible study and sermon series called For the Life of the World. We’ve invited our small groups, several Sunday School classes, 20s' Ministry and our Women Engaged ministry to lead the way, providing you several ways to join in. If you would like to get connected, see the details on page 14.
Since I began with Tolkien, I will end with him as well. In The Hobbit, the wizard Gandalf appears at the door of the protagonist, a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. He says to Bilbo, “I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure…” Bilbo eventually joins the adventure and is ultimately transformed by it. He does things he never thought he could do. He travels farther than he ever thought he would. He develops relationships he never thought he would have. He accomplishes something that seemed truly far-fetched when he began. In an even more profound way, the journey of discipleship leads to transformation in our own lives. We are transformed by Jesus, as we seek to follow Him in our daily rhythms of life. Our minds, actions, and relationships are transformed as we seek to love God and our neighbors.
So, what are you waiting for? Not all those who wander are lost. We are looking for people to share in an adventure. Join us this Fall in the journey of discipleship!
Jack Peebles is our Pastor of Discipleship, and with his team, has been preparing for this journey with our church family since his arrival in 2015.