For many years, Good Shepherd has offered a variety of small group and adult education programs on Sunday mornings, weekdays and week nights. Programs such as Alpha, the Bible in 90 Days, Sunday Faith Forum classes, Kerygma, and Covenant Bible Study have played an important role in building community, helping new members become incorporated into the congregation, and helping adults learn about the Christian faith. In our recent Spiritual Life Inventory, however, many parishioners indicated that opportunities and resources to help nourish their hunger for spiritual growth were limited and not always effective.
A Different Approach With this in mind, we will be taking a different approach to small groups and adult education at Good Shepherd in 2017 and 2018. Instead of offering “one-off” programs – either Sunday morning Faith Forum programs or week-night small group programs – we will be offering two six-week series – one in the fall and one in Lent – that will intentionally focus on the question – “What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?”
The first series, beginning October 1 is called, “Discipleship: Explore Your Life With God,” and it will feature a six-week video program called “Hazardous Saints” led by C.K. Robertson, an Episcopal priest and professor at General Seminary in New York. This program is intended for anyone who is curious to learn what it means to grow in a relationship with God and to be a disciple of Jesus, regardless of their background or previous experience with adult education.
The video program focuses on six ancient and modern “saints." Each of these six men and women exemplify what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Like Jesus, each of the six featured leaders were change agents in their times:
• St. Barnabas, the Apostle
• St. Francis of Assisi
• Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (who wrote the first Book of Common Prayer)
• Sojourner Truth, abolitionist and social activist
• Dorothy Day, social activist and founder of the Catholic Worker Movement
• Archbishop Oscar Romero, the martyred bishop of San Salvador
This series will be offered on Sunday mornings during the Faith Forum time, on week-days and on week-nights, depending on how many people sign up. The format for each 90 minute program consists of a 15 minute video led by C.K. Robertson, followed by discussion.
Sign-up will be on the church website and in the church hallway, beginning September 10. There will also be a sign-up and information table at the Ministry Fair on September 24.
The fall “Discipleship: Explore Your Life With God” series will be followed by another six-week small group series in Lent, 2018 titled, “Discipleship: Live Out Your Faith in the World.” This second series is designed for anyone who wants to go a little deeper in their spiritual life by learning specific ways of “living out their faith in the world” through prayer, worship and service.
If you are someone who is looking for ways to grow in your faith, I hope you will consider participating in this new approach to small groups/adult education at Good Shepherd.
Fr. Craig MacColl