discipleshipulogoWe hope to do three simple things at First Baptist Church.

  1. We want to DECLARE Christ to those who do not know Him.
  2. We want to DEVELOP believers who follow Jesus daily.
  3. We want to DEPLOY disciples into the world with the gospel.

Our pastor and staff desire to use as many outlets as possible to accomplish these three tasks. We are excited to announce the launch of a new initiative that we believe will help us better accomplish the second task of developing believers who follow Jesus daily. We’re calling this initiative Discipleship U.

Think of this revised approach to adult discipleship in terms of a college or university setting. There are core classes that each student needs to take and core subjects that each person needs to comprehend. There are also electives that relate to a student’s interest or major. Not every student is on the same course level; some students will take more advanced courses as they grow and develop in their fields of study.

Now picture that scenario in a church setting where the goal is to develop believers who follow Jesus daily. There are some core topics that every believer needs to know in order to become more like Jesus. Believers also go through various seasons of life, and certain subjects might be more pressing for a person during that time. New parents, for example, will likely be drawn to a study that focuses on learning about how to parent from a biblical perspective. And not every believer is at the same spiritual growth stage. Some need to grow through the milk of the Word, while others need to learn to chew on the meat of the Word (see 1 Corinthians 3 and Hebrews 5).

Discipleship U will provide Bible studies to help you become more like Jesus by learning how to follow Jesus. Over the course of a few years we will provide a rotation of Bible studies that have been specifically designed to lead a person from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity. We will also provide an “elective” Bible study each “semester” that will focus on a topic or passage that addresses needs that you might be facing at a specific stage in your life.

Here are some important items that you’ll want to know about this first fall semester of Discipleship U!

Discipleship U is currently designed for our mid-week ADULT Bible studies. These classes will meet on Wednesday nights at 6:00. The ministry programs for our preschoolers, children, and students will remain the same.

We will initially offer 5 different settings to launch Bible studies as part of Discipleship U.

  1. If you’re a guy and you would be interested in studying with other men, you could attend the men’s  Bible study group. It meets in room 126 in Building E. Tracy Allen and Clayton Tolbert will continue to lead these classes in the men’s group.
  2. For ladies who desire to study the Bible with other women, we’ll continue to provide a women’s Bible study group that will meet in room 130 in Building E. Wendy Stephens will lead this group.
  3. A second women’s Bible study group will meet in room 125 (First Cup) in Building E. Kathryn Tolbert will lead this group.
  4. Dr. Russell will lead a Bible study group that will initially meet in Bamberg Chapel. This is an open group, available for singles, couples, men, women, younger, older, etc.
  5. Randy and Kathy Jackson will start a new group designed for spouses or couples who would enjoy attending Bible study together. Their group will meet in the foyer area of Bamberg Chapel.

Discipleship U kicks off at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, August 22nd. For the first five weeks, each group will participate in the same Bible study. You could think of this Bible study as one of the “core” studies on the path to becoming a disciple who follows Jesus daily. The study is called “The Way,” and it focuses on the lives of the disciples whom Jesus called. “The Way” will help you see and understand how Christ calls, teaches, equips, and sends YOU into the world to be a follower of Jesus.

After the five-week study, we will offer five different “elective” Bible studies. Please note that it is perfectly fine (and even desirable) for you to attend different Bible study groups with each “course” that is offered. For example, you might attend the group that Dr. Russell teaches for a specific study, then discover that the next study from a different group will focus on a subject or Bible text that really interests you. We would encourage you to attend a different Bible study group from time to time.

The schedule for the first semester of Discipleship U can be found here. You’ll find details about each study that will be offered during the fall (August to December). As we approach the end of 2018, we will provide a schedule for the spring semester for 2019. (If you need to find where a Bible study meets, consult our “Bible Study Locations” map.)

Your church leadership believes that this is an excellent opportunity to make our discipleship efforts more effective and efficient. If you have any questions or if something is unclear, please contact the church office and speak with either Dr. Russell or Randy Jackson. We look forward to growing together with you as we seek to become more like Jesus by following Jesus through Discipleship U!

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