Intentional Faith Development

What is Intentional Faith Development?


Part of your Christian journey is to develop your relationship with God. Your Christian journey is a life-long relationship of where you continually explore and grow with Christ. Think about it: relationships aren't static and life constantly changes. For example, you may still maintain a relationship with a childhood friend. For sure, you still don't act like you did when you were a child and you do things different and hopefully each of you has grown over a lifetime and learned from each other. Having a relationship with God is similar; however, God is also there with you to help you grow personally and to have an effect on others in a positive, Christian way.


Intentional Faith Development is a way for you to grow as a Christian and the way we do it is through personal spiritual disciplines and through your Christian community. Christianity is not a solo sport... God gives us guidance for how we can all get along and depend upon each other.

Christianity is for all

Acts 10:47 Then Peter said, "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They (Gentiles) have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." So, he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.


As we understand that anyone is welcome to God's kingdom and we all have a personal Christian journey to take, we need to discern that just declaring ourselves as a Christian doesn't mean that we instantly have all the answers. Our fellow Christians are also on their own respective journeys and learning as well. A child in kindergarten doesn't possess the same knowledge as fifth grader; nor does the fifth grader have the same comprehension as a high school student; and the education continues on up the ladder. We all make mistakes. Sometimes this is referred to as sin. The key question is: do we learn from our sins so we can get better? Our walk with Christ is a journey of continuous learning and improvement and that leads us to salvation.

What is your relationship with Jesus?

Exploring

"I believe in God, but I'm not sure about Jesus or the church/"


"My faith is not a significant part of my life."

Getting Started

"I believe in Jesus and I am working on what it means to follow him."


"I am participating in the life of the church."

going Deeper

"My relationship with Jesus makes a difference in how I live my life."


"I am discovering how my life can make God's love real in the world."

Centering

"Following Jesus is the most important thing in my life."



"My life is part of God's transformation of the world."

Do we just read the Bible and that is it?


No. We have a concept in the United Methodist Church called the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. Think of a four-legged stool and each leg of the stool can give us different perspective on how we learn and build a relationship with God. After all, we all do learn differently!

Scripture

John Wesley insisted that scripture is the first authority and contains the only measure whereby all other truth is tested.


It was delivered by authors who were divinely inspired. It is a rule sufficient to itself. It neither needs, nor is capable of, any further addition.


Yes, this is the area where Bible study occurs.

Tradition

Wesley wrote, "Do not undervalue traditional evidence." Tradition supplies us a link through over 1700 years of history with Jesus and the apostles. Tradition gives us interpretation and thus is known as doctrine (don't be afraid of that word). Reading the Bible can be tough. Tradition can help us understand and interpret what the Bible story is telling us. People that have gone before us can help us understand from their reason and experiences without us trying to reinvent the wheel.


Tradition (Doctrine) allows us to understand how a Methodist thinks and acts.

Reason

Reason is about us today sorting it out. It is where we "conference" -discuss and further interpret Scripture and Tradition with others.


Wesley wrote, "Now, of what excellent reason, if we would either understand ourselves, or explain to others, those living oracles.


Reason is what we share with others to help us along our walk with Jesus.

Experience

"What the scriptures promise, I enjoy." - John Wesley.


Apart from Scripture, experience is the strongest proof of Christianity.


Experience is simple. John Wesley brought to Christianity the small group organized through The Class Meeting and The Band Meeting. 


Through the daily practice of being a Christian, The Class Meeting allows for discussion of how to experience the transformation of the individual and The Band Meeting brings accountability through the confession of sin.

There are lots of study groups. Where do I connect?

Nobody's walk with Christ is exactly the same. There isn't a prescription of courses that you can take that is going to punch your ticket to heaven. Salvation comes from faith. You have to search and develop that relationship with God.


First, assess where you are in your relationship with God.  You don't want to be bored nor do you want to be overwhelmed. Then think about the type of study group you want to be a part of and then talk with the leader of the study group to see if it is a fit for you. Click here for list of study groups.

I like to lead and teach classes. How can I be a part of this ministry?

The United Methodist Church has a wealth of resources to share with others.  Helping others to get started or furthering their experience with God can also lead to personal growth and spreading the Word of Christ. You don't have to an expert or a member of the clergy to lead a class but have the desire to learn, scout out the trail and then go on the journey with others. Check out Apostle Paul Ministry.