Faith is a journey. What is your next step?
The journey of faith is unique to everyone...
Everyone's faith journey is different. In fact, often our journey of faith looks more like a spiral than a straight line. Everyone has a different pace on growing physically and spiritually, so why should we compare ourselves to others journeys? Check out the options below and click on the one that best describes where you are on the journey of faith.
The Discipleship Pathway
Each stage of the path of discipleship is important and at each stage we can find ourselves stuck or we can find we are growing in our faith. At St. Paul’s we seek to provide opportunities for people to grow in faith, no matter where they find themselves on the journey.
If you are new to faith, chances are you don’t even know what questions you have. Or maybe you have very specific questions as a result of things you have heard about what it means to belong to a church or be a follower of the teachings of Jesus.
There are four areas of focus for our discipleship: community, learning, commitment, and serving. As we grow in faith there are ways we can experience each of these areas: If you have not formally professed faith in Christ, or if you have been away from faith and the church for an extended period of time, then we recommend taking a few steps at a time.
Community – you might attend worship in person or online. It helps to understand the community better in person, but we understand you may be watching online long before you arrive at the door. Just remember to text “HELLO” to 580-232-7711 and let us know you are joining us. It is just a way for us to learn about you and for you to find out a little more about St. Paul’s Lawton.
Learning – you are invited to participate in Sunday school classes and other studies that are offered . For children and youth, check our Family Ministries Facebook page for up-to-date information. It is recommended that at this stage of your journey of faith you take “A Disciple’s Path” class for adults is offered in the fall each year as there is an interest. A youth or young person may take a confirmation class to learn more about what it means to be a Christian and a United Methodist.
Commitment – This stage in the journey is more for those who have joined the church; however it is recommended to committing time each day to prayer or learning more about faith. You are invited but not required to give to the church financially. If you want to see what this might look in the next step, check out Transforming in Christ.
Serving – You do not need to be a member to serve. You will not be put in charge of anything, so feel free to lend a hand where you would like to help. Some areas have requirements, so just ask about what interests you.
At St. Paul’s we like people with questions to be able to ask them in a safe space. Coffee with the pastor is an informal conversation just to get to know more about St. Paul’s, and to be able to ask your questions without pressure. It is helpful if you schedule it, so click the button below that says “Coffee with the Pastor.”
This step comes when we have decided to make a commitment to God and to the church.
You can join the church by profession of faith in Jesus and baptism, by moving your membership from another congregation, or by confirmation, restoration or reaffirmation of faith. For more information on joining the church, please contact the pastor.
You might wonder what it means to profess our faith. It is recognizing that God’s grace has been in our lives before we were aware of God, and it is God’s grace that brings us to this time of decision. An individual’s profession of faith is the defining moment in a new Christian’s spiritual life and represents their entry into the family of God by confessing their need of God and desire to follow Jesus. You will definitely want to schedule a time to speak with the pastor about what this step means for you.
As you are in this stage, either before or after professing faith and joining with the community of faith at St. Paul’s, there are ways you can still participate in each of the four areas of commitment.
Community – at this stage attending worship in person or online is something you do with regularity. This is a primary way we participate in community through worship. It is important you meet the community of faith that you will be participating in before you make a decision to join the church. There are many ways this cam be done, but the easiest way is to attend worship in person.
Learning – there are Sunday school classes and other studies you can participate in to learn more about faith and what it means to be a follower of Jesus and a member of the faith community. At this stage the following classes are recommended as a starting point.
- If you haven’t already, it is recommended that you participate in “A Disciple’s Path” class for adults which is offered in the fall each year as there is an interest.
- “A Disciple’s Heart” is offered in the spring for those who have taken “A Disciple’s Path,” as a way o f learning more about ways we grow in faith.
- A teen or young adult may take confirmation classes
- “Learning to Study the Bible” and Bible studies are offered throughout the year. Ask the pastor for more information.
Commitment – this is the stage you make a commitment. The covenant made when you join the church is to support the church by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service, and your witness. At this stage this may look like praying for the church daily, regular attendance in worship, regularly giving financially to the church, serving in the church and in the ministry in which the church participates, and sharing with others about how God and St. Paul’s has made an impact in your life. This starts by answering these three questions which is your story of faith:
- Why do I need Christ?
- Why do I need the church?
- How does my church bless my life?
Serving – There are many ways you can serve, even as a new member. This is a stage of apprenticeship, so to speak. If you know someone who is in charge of a ministry you are interested in, just ask how you get involved. Here are ways you can serve:
In the church:
- Greeting people before worship
- Audio visual tech
- Office help (answering phones, stuffing envelopes)
- Assisting in children’s or youth ministries (background check required)
In the community:
- Serving at St. John’s feeding ministry
- Helping on weeks we host Family Promise of Lawton
- Working the Pumpkin Patch which raises funds for community ministries
- Other opportunities will come up
In the world:
- Mission trips and other opportunities
As we mature in faith, there are expectations. We will be growing in all areas of the discipleship path. This is a time that you are comfortable with the expectations placed on you, and you seek ways to live out your discipleship.
Community – these are ways you have matured in your faith
- you participate in worship weekly,
- you have volunteered to lead or co-lead a study or Sunday school class,
- participate in United Methodist Women or United Methodist Men and even serve as an officer,
- participate with new member classes or confirmation classes and serve as a mentor
- lead in worship as a liturgist
- attend prayer groups and other opportunities to be in community
Learning – ways you have grown in your learning
- Take a long-term Bible Study such as Covenant Bible Study or Disciple Bible Study
- Gone on a Walk to Emmaus, Five Day Academy of Spiritual Formation, or other spiritual retreat
- You do independent study on your own in addition to with the community
Commitment – ways you have grown in your commitment
- You give a tithe of your income or are working toward tithing your income
- You serve on the Leadership Team, Discipleship Team, Vision Team, or other ministry area.
- You are comfortable sharing your faith story with others
- Commit to daily scripture reading and prayer
Serving – ways you are in service to others
- Lead or co-lead a mission team
- Serve as a host for Family Promise
- Participate in a visitation and prayer ministry
- Serve in the community beyond what the church is doing
- Serve on a district or conference committee
By this stage you are comfortable with your faith and your live revolves around faith in Christ. You are led by the Holy Spirit to make decisions, and you are sought for wisdom in faith. Here are a few ways this stage fits into the discipleship path:
Community – in addition to those things listed under Maturing in Christ
- Be a lead teacher of a study or Sunday school class
- Find someone to mentor in the faith
- You are willing to be in an accountability group
- Start and facilitate small groups for faith formation and accountability
Learning – in addition to those things listed under Maturing in Christ
- Teach a Bible Study
- Work a Walk to Emmaus or other spiritual formation retreat
- Co-Teach or Teach Disciple Bible Study
- Find opportunities for learning beyond the local church
Commitment – in addition to those things listed under Maturing in Christ
- Help others find Christ, mentor them in faith
- Commit to giving a tenth of your income to the church as well as giving offerings (over and above the tithe) to the building, and to ministries within and beyond the local church
- Look for ways to love unconditionally
Serving – in addition to those things listed under Maturing in Christ
- Serve in a ministry beyond the local church
- Live a life of service to God and to others
Taking the next step
At any stage on the journey of faith you might want to have coffee with the pastor or look for a new way to serve or learn. This is why the action buttons are below the descriptions. Recommendations for what next step to take is under the description on the discipleship path.