This week, "Jim's Place" is brought to you by Chris and Joanna Cummings. Read on as they discuss the discipleship focus and areas of ministry in which you can be involved at Forest Hills.
It seems like BIGGER is always better these days: bigger TVS, bigger cars, even bigger cell phones. The idea of bigger has even infiltrated the church. There are giant churches everywhere boasting huge numbers. While bigger can have some advantages, bigger doesn’t always win out over small.
Jesus, while he talked to larger crowds, walked with a small group of disciples in his daily life. These disciples knew Jesus personally, spent time with him daily, and developed stronger relationships with him and with each other as a result of their time together. Our faith is one based on relationships: relationship with God, relationship with others. Deep, meaningful relationships can only really exist in a smaller setting where people can truly take time to listen, share stories, and grow together.
When we look at deepening our faith through discipleship, small is the answer.
Here are Forest Hills UMC, we see ourselves as a specialty coffee shop in the world of Walmart’s. We do small really well. Making disciples is the call of the church, and there are many ways you can get involved in one of the small groups found at Forest Hills.
We have always had a deep foundation of discipleship through our Sunday School classes which meet weekly on Sunday from 8:45-9:45am. These groups truly share life together, studying scripture, having deep discussions, and praying for each other.
Another place you can jump into a small group is through one of the Bible studies being offered. On Sunday nights, a study of the book of Matthew is being taught by Rev. Jim Hughes from 5:00-6:00 p.m. On Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m., Condit Steil is leading a Covenant Bible Study that will go through the whole story of the Bible. There is also a Women’s Bible Study on Tuesday mornings from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
We have a meditations small group that gathers to pray the scriptures. They meet on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. and are led by Rhonda Steil. This is a great option if you feel you can't commit to coming every week - if you miss a week here or there, you won't fall behind.
There is a new study option being offered this fall called Brown Bag Bible Studies. These will be small groups of people who get together once a week on their lunch break for a short term study and prayer. We are gauging interest and getting feedback on these studies, so if this interests you, fill out this survey to help us develop these studies to be the most beneficial.
We are also excited to be starting other small groups this year. We have begun a young families small group for families with 0-5 year old children. They meet for play dates and cookouts and truly understand one another as they are all in the same stage of life. We also have a young women’s small group that meets on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. They will be engaging in a study of Mark led by Joanna Cummings.
Finally, our children and teens have many opportunities for discipleship as well. There are age-based Sunday School classes each Sunday from 8:45-9:45 a.m. The teens also have the opportunity to be a part of Youth Group on Sunday nights from 5:00-7:00 and small groups that meet on Wednesdays.
Small matters because it here where you can truly know and be known. We hope that if you are not already in a small group or are looking for something more you will plug in somewhere to deepen your faith and build relationships with others.
Small matters, and at Forest Hills UMC we believe we do small really well. Come and See!
Chris and Joanna
Kristin Clark-Banks is the pastor of Forest Hills UMC.