Discover the Christian Life!
By Pastor Tom Anderson
What is the meaning of life? Who is Jesus? Why did he die? What is the church? How should I live? Our church exists to help people find their God-given purpose in life. These are questions everybody is asking. Good News: God has spoken. He has responded with clear answers to the greatest questions of life. We call his answers the Gospel.
Class 101 is the first of a series of 4 core classes we offer here at HUMC. It’s a 90 minute seminar for beginners, seekers and those who just want to brush up on the basics. The session covers four areas: Our salvation, our statements of faith and ethics, our strategy and our structure. Participants are oriented and prepared to take their place in God’s church through this seminar. The goal of this class is to bring each person to make a commitment to Christ and a commitment to HUMC. This blog is a sketch of the class contents.
God wants each of us to have a better life--an abundant life. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) How can we gain this life Jesus brings? We won’t do it by following rules, being nice or engaging in rituals. It is not something we do, it’s a gift we receive: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) We turn away from self-centered, selfish living and publicly state our faith in Jesus Christ. “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) We seal this decision by being baptized, taking our place in the church and living a life of love.
Our church has one mission statement: to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world! We have three purposes: Connect, Grow, Serve. Our basic beliefs are summarized in the Apostle’s Creed. Participants are instructed in a lifestyle of daily Bible reading and prayer, showing up for church, serving in Christ’s name, financial support and personal Christian witness. This is baseline Christian living.
We have a strategy to reach the people in our region with the Gospel. It involves the four things every healthy church must do: invite, retain, apprentice and send. Why are there so many different churches and how do they differ? A thumb-nail sketch of church history and what all Christians hold in common is presented along with the distinctive emphases of the Methodist movement: 1) All people need to be saved--the Biblical teaching on universal sin; 2) All people can be saved--the Biblical teaching on universal love (John 3:16); 3) All people can know that they are saved--the Biblical teaching on assurance of salvation (Romans 8:16) and 4)All people can be saved completely--the Biblical teaching on sanctification (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
The membership vows are our covenant with God and each other. They bind us together in a sacred community and declare what God expects of us and what we expect of each other: repentance, faith, Biblical authority, mutual loyalty, participation and partnership in a compassionate community.
We offer this class several times each year. You are welcome to take it multiple times! Most recently I’ve been holding it online through Zoom. I look forward to being able to offer it in-person again sometime in 2021! Check myhumc.com to sign up for the next seminar.