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St. Paul United Methodist Church
Saturday, August 08, 2020

Spiritual Formation

Diane Alley, Spiritual Formation Team Leader

The mission of the Spiritual Formation Ministry is to assist
the people of St. Paul United Methodist Church to grow in
faith, gain a greater understanding of discipleship,and develop
their personal beliefs so that we become disciples of Christ.
What is Spiritual Formation?
“Spiritual formation is the process of being conformed to the
image of Christ for the sake of others.”
Dr. Robert Mulholland,
professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary
in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Spiritual formation is a life-long process of growth and
development to become a disciple of Jesus Christ and to become
more like Jesus. It requires an intentional focus on spiritual
practices and disciplines, such as regular prayer, study and
reflection, worship, participation in small groups, and service
to others.
Our Wesleyan Heritage
John Wesley promoted the practices of both personal piety
and the means of grace. Personal piety included prayer and
devotional reading, scriptural study, and fasting.
These were activities that every individual Christian needed.
But every bit as important to the people called Methodist
were shared practices —
prayer with and for one another,
Bible study and exploration of scriptural
and theological concepts, sharing in the Lord’s Supper,
and working side-by-side in works of compassion, kindness,
and caring in the community and world.
Studies we offer here at St. Paul currently include:
Short Term Bible Studies, Long Term Bible Studies and
St. Paul 101 Classes. Watch the Epistle and Epistle Plus
newsletters for upcoming studies you can participate in.



The Matthew 28:18-20 Project is a new program at St. Paul that attempts to take the church out into our communities through neighborhood study groups.  In the Gospel of Matthew, as Christ was about to leave the earth, one of his  last instructions to his disciples was to take his teachings out into the world:


"Then Jesus came to them and said,  'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing  them in  the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'   (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)


St. Paul is a powerhouse of people who have been in Sunday school and short-term classes for  years.    Some in our congregation may feel God nudging them to take their knowledge and ability outside the church walls.   Often there are  people in our communities who may not be comfortable inside a church, but who would be open to a study led by one of their friends or neighbors. 


An advantage of using one of the 129 books in the LifeGuide Bible series for these neighborhood study groups is both the reasonable cost of the series and its use of a discussion format.  This discussion format alleviates a great deal of  work for the study leader.   The leader needs only  to introduce the  topic to the group and present the discussion questions.  Preparation time is about  45 minutes to an hour for each session.   Further, studies can be held on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis depending on the time constraints of the leader and participants.


If participants should later decide that they would like to consider making St. Paul their church home, information will be available for them to privately investigate this option.  The inside of the LifeGuide book cover  will include both our facebook page  and website addresses. 


The LifeGuide Bible Studies are a free resource to anyone who feels called to take the church out into the community through a study group.  But for those wishing to use other study materials under the umbrella of this Project, please run the materials by our senior pastor to make sure they are in line with Methodist doctrine since this is a Methodist project.


Of course anyone can start a study group individually which is not under the umbrella of the Matthew 28:18-20 Project  or St. Paul and use whatever study materials they wish.  This Project is not meant to intrude on other equally worthy options.


A table will be set up each week in the front of the social hall so that interested persons can inspect or order any of the LifeGuide Bible Study series.  All are welcome to take the books home to inspect.  Please note the book(s) on the check-out sheet and return them to the table in the following weeks so that others have a chance to check that particular study out also.   If there is a study  you're interested in,  but which is not available on the table, please fill out a book order form so that a copy can be obtained for you to examine.  There is also a form  available to sign up for prayer support from St. Paul if you decide to take the church beyond our walls and into the community as a study leader.