Coming soon: Each of these studies other than the first one will have suggested reading material to prepare for the class – look for that to be posted early in each week. As we go along, there will also be links or suggestions for further study – we’ll touch on a lot of things briefly in class, then you’re encouraged to look more deeply at those that interest you. (Scroll down for a schedule for the series)
We enter the season of Lent with great intentions. We want to prepare our minds to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. We want to prepare our hearts to experience that resurrection anew. That kind of preparation is more effective if we use the right tools.
Through more than 20 centuries, the Christian church has developed a whole toolbox of methods to help people deepen their relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
For most all of us, this toolbox includes prayer, worship, Bible study and service. Other find benefit from other tools: fasting, meditation, journaling, confession, and more.
Our own branch of the Christian family was born when a group of people gathered to challenge and support one another in using tools like these. Their methodical ways led them to be called Methodists—and the name stuck.
Today’s sermon introduces a six-week study to help you learn to use your faith-building tools more effectively, and possibly get introduced to some you aren’t yet familiar with.
At the end of the study, we’ll ask for a small group of volunteers to pilot a kind of small group that’s new to St. Mark’s: the Covenant Discipleship Group.
In a Covenant Discipleship Group, the members decide together which spiritual tools they want to learn how to use, and covenant to meet weekly to inquire into each group member’s progress, successes and challenges.
The six-week study can be beneficial whether or not you choose to be part of the Covenant Discipleship group—but it just may be the next step you need to take in your faith journey.
Sunday sermon, Feb. 22
Disciplines: Tools for the journey
Each Sunday Feb. 22-March 29 there will be a study at 4 p.m. in the Conference Room.
Feb. 22: It’s in our DNA
Methodism was born as people came together to support and challenge one another to be more faithful. That approach still works.
March 1: God’s strategy
From the time God decided Adam should not be alone, people supporting one another in the life of faith has been a recurring theme in scripture
March 8: From the inside out
New Testament teaching, from words of Jesus to the expansive letters of Paul, have stressed inner change as the core of discipline. There are time-tested tools to help that change happen
March 15: Let it shine
A personal relationship with God is the foundation—but not the end. There are also tools we can use in deliberately living a more Christlike life.
March 22: Faith in community
When people gather together to support one another in their faith journey, there’s a word for that: Church. Learn how to get more out of worship and church activities you already do.
March 29: Where we go from here
We’ve learned some good ways to stay more disciplined and focused on Christ. How do we keep it up?