How Do I  Grow in My Faith Journey?   

St. James  offers a wide variety of programs, classes, small groups, mission opportunities, and events that will help individuals and families grow in their faith journey.  Three times a year we publish a ministry guidebook.  These publications highlight the different ways a person can Know, Love & Serve God through Christ.  Some programs are at the introductory level, some are advanced, but all are designed to help in one’s faith journey.  If there is a specific topic, area, or interest that is not covered in a ministry catalog please contact:  Rev. Claire Caldwell at 217-6710 or claire@stjames-umc.org

What is the Next Step In Your Faith Journey?
Almost two years ago, the Church Council began asking questions as to how we encourage those who enter St. James to take the next step in their faith journey.  How do we grow Disciples for Jesus Christ?  A task force was formed and work began to create a pathway for discipleship.  We discovered that this is not an easy task.  We prayed, struggles, discussed, and prayed some more.  In the fall of 2014, we introduced the beginning formula for discipleship pathway – Knowing, Loving, and Serving.  One of our main resources for this discipleship pathway is the work of The Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS.  It’s great material…works great for them, but how do we make it St. James.  There came the problem.  We realized that it is not St. James’s discipleship path.  It is the individuals journey or path to growing to in Christ.  With that realization, we began developing a discipleship pathway for the individual.  It is a tool or guide for each individual to look at, prayerfully consider where you are in your walk with Christ, and determine which areas you may need to grow.  

How do you take the next Step?
Knowing, Loving, and Serving God.  These are the steps along the path to living the life God hopes for us.  As a church community, St. James takes this journey seriously, and we know that people enter the church and begin this disciple’s path in different ways. 

From the very beginning, the Methodist movement placed great emphasis upon growing into the likeness of Christ –experiencing the full love of God and sharing God’s love with the world.  Early Methodists frequently assessed their spiritual journey and committed to specific spiritual disciplines that facilitated growth by encouraging them to make time in their lives and space in their hearts for God. 

Likewise, Your Faith Journey, based upon our pathway of discipleship and the membership vows professed by every United Methodist Christian, will assist you in growing in every way into Christ.  We believe that a deeply committed disciple is theologically informed, spiritually transformed, and serves in the world as the hands, feet, and witnessing voice of Jesus. 

Your Faith Journey moves from “Believing in Christ” to “Christ-Centered Life.”  Typically, due to personality compositions, individual preferences, and past experiences, Christians find they have experienced growth in some areas more easily than in others.  Your Faith Journey will help you identify those areas where more intentionality is needed.

Two words of caution: Your Faith Journey is not intended to create a sense of guilt or failure.  Nor is it intended to create pride in one’s self.  The Church and Scripture have always cautioned against “self-pity” and “vainglory.”  Remember, “There is not condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” and “if you are going to boast, boast in the Lord.”  (Rom. 8:1; 1Cor.1:31) 

St. James United Methodist Church seeks to change lives and reshape futures for Jesus Christ.  Making and nurturing deeply committed and Christ-centered Disciples is how we fulfill this mission.   

We invite to use the information on the Knowing God, Loving God and Serving God pages as a tool for self-examination.  It is meant to help you honestly look at Your Faith Journey to see where you are and what areas you might want or need to grow toward.  For information about classes, small groups, events, and other opportunities to help you grow in Your Faith Journey, contact Kim Anderson, Director of Faith Development at 217-6708 or via email.   

Knowing God is deepening our understanding of God and the scriptures.  How can you do this?  Five core traits are associated with Knowing God.  They are:    

Christian Essentials – deeply committed Christians understand the essential gospel on which most Christian agree, across denominational lines and centuries, expressed in historic creeds such as the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds, and can share the gospel intelligently with a non-Christian friend.   

Bible Understanding – deeply committed Christians know the grand sweep of the Bible’s Story of salvation, including a basic timeline of biblical events.  They understand the divine/human nature of the Bible and know how to read it, not merely as an ancient document or a reference book of spiritual answers, but for personal spiritual growth.   

Church/United Methodist – deeply committed Christians value the church as the Body of Christ, God’s people journeying in a community, and know the teachings characteristics of the Methodist movement.   

Basic Christian Ethics – deeply committed Christians understand how to apply their Christian faith to important ethical issues, and are committed to living out Christian ethical principles such as justice, integrity, peace, and responsibility for the well-being of others.   

Knowing God’s Will – deeply committed Christians know the broad scope of God’s purpose for human beings, and have a growing sense of how to discern God’s will for their life through prayer, Bible study, and the wisdom of other Christians.   

LOVING GOD leads to experiencing spiritual transformation.  The five traits associated with Loving God include:   

Surrender – deeply committed Christian surrender the control of every aspect of their life to Jesus, repenting of sin, setting aside their own desires and sense of importance, and offering their lives in obedient service to God. 

Transformation – deeply committed Christians are being continually transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and sense that power molding their values, priorities and relationship into more Christ-like patterns.   

Spiritual Disciplines – deeply committed Christians practice various spiritual disciplines (e.g. prayer, Bible reading, worship, solitude, meditation, fasting) as a means of surrendering to Jesus and opening their life to the Holy Spirit’s transforming activity.   

Fruits of the Spirit – deeply committed Christians are continually growing in the inner qualities and outward actions identified as “the fruit of the Spirt” in Galatians 5:22; “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”   

Small Groups – deeply committed Christians share their faith journey with a group of Christian friends in mutual encouragement and accountability, developing spiritual honesty and trust through sharing and support.   

SERVING GOD by using our hands, time, and gifts to serve others and share Christ.   

Service to Others – deeply committed Christians are instruments of God’s love in a broken, hurting world, living lives of service to others with a strong (though not exclusive) focus on the Bible’s concern for the poor and for justice.   

Sharing Christ – deeply committed Christians are eager to share the good news of Jesus in loving, winsome and non-judgmental ways, and are ready to “give an answer to anyone who ask the reason for your hope.” (1 Peter 3:15)   

Spiritual Gifts/Talents – deeply committed Christians understand clearly, with “sober judgment” (Romans 12:3) which spiritual gifts and talents they have, and use those gifts to bless others and build up the Body of Christ.   

Financial Gifts – deeply committed Christians view money and material possessions not as a measure of success or as a means of self-gratification, but as a resource for whose use they are responsible to God, and submit their financial lives to God’s guidance and control.   

Time – deeply committed Christians see time as a gift from God to be used in keeping with God’s purposes, avoid compulsive busyness, and submit their calendar to God’s guidance and control.  

To view/download a copy of the Knowing, Loving, and Serving God Brochure, click HERE

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