How do I grow into a strong disciple of God?
We know that it can be difficult to know what to do next regardless of where you are in your spiritual life. Many typical responses when asked this question are to read your Bible, pray, and strive to follow God, but it can be confusing to know exactly what that means and how we can put that to work in our lives. With this Next Steps Model we have developed specific steps to help each of us continue to grow in our walk with God. Following these steps will foster continuous spiritual growth in all areas of our lives and will begin developing us into fully devoted disciples of Christ.
What it means to Believe
It might be painful to admit, but deep down, as much as we would like to think of ourselves as generally good, we know that our first inclination is for our own selfish desires. When we look deep down in ourselves we have this sense of what we know to be right and wrong. This voice comes from God. We were made to have this yearning for God ever since we were created. He offers us hope for something better in this life and hope for life beyond death for those who trust Him. God is waiting for us to invite Him in to transform our hearts, minds, and souls. Believing in God, in His Word, and in His love is the first step to being made new. God's arms are open to all and His desire is for us to get to know Him more regardless of our past. We as a church want to come along side you in this journey and help show what it means to become a follower of Jess Christ.
- John 3:16
Every journey has a beginning and our journey with Christ begins in total and complete surrender. According to the Bible, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Sin cannot be in the presence of God much like darkness cannot be in the presence of light. Salvation is unattainable by our own works and actions. Because God loves us, He sent His Son to die in our place so that we may receive eternal life through Jesus Christ. That gift of eternal life is available to everyone; if we confess our sins He is faithful ad just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9). God desires a relationship with you and it is found through a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you are interested in taking the first step of Salvation, click on the buttons below to read John 3:16 and more information on how to start that journey with Jesus.
- Tell Someone
- Commit to Church
- Meet with Pastor
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 it talks about how for those who are in Christ they become a new creation. If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior then you have become a new creation. So where do you go from here? First you must tell someone. This is a major step to take in your life and it should be shared with others. Becoming part of the family of God also puts other believers in your life to walk alongside of you. Committing to Church is not about a building or a service, but rather it is the family of God walking through life together; sharpening, encouraging, and strengthening each other to grow and share the joy we have in our lives with those around us. The Church provides support and direction on our journey toward becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. If you have received Jesus as your savior, then being baptized is the next step. Baptism is a public declaration by a believer of their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.
For more information and for any other questions you may have please contact one of the following pastors by clicking on their button to send an email. Feel free to contact any of our pastors or call to set up an appointment at (607)-324-3300. We look forward to meeting with you and getting to know you more.
What it means to Belong
When God created us He included one key desire we all share in common, the desire to belong. In Genesis we see that God created a companion for Adam, in the Gospels we see that Jesus brought along not one but twelve disciples, and in the book of Acts we see a great group of people that come together under the cause of Christ and formed the Church. God always desired for us to be one not just with each other but also with Christ. This desire was so great that Jesus prayed it moments before He was about to be crucified (John 17:21). Today we share that desire by welcoming all to the family of God in the Church. At New Hope, we want to develop a group of Christ followers that make a difference in each other's lives and in our community as well. Everyone desires to belong and God desires us to discover that we belong here in His family.
- Get a Study Bible
- Read John
- Read Ephesians
- Read Acts
- Discipleship Essentials
Developing Biblical Knowledge can be very intimidating and it can be difficult to know where to start. To begin this journey of diving deeper into the Word, we encourage everyone to get a study Bible such as the life application Bible. These types of Bibles offer information on the bottom of the page to help us better understand the scriptures and how they can be applied to our everyday lives. We recommend starting with these four books from the New Testament. The book of John is one of the four Gospels all of which are an account of the story of Jesus' time and ministry here on Earth. John shows the selfless example of how the King of Kings lived His life as a servant among us and also how he died on the cross and rose again so that our sins would be forgiven and we would have a new found hope in Jesus Christ. The book of James is about how to live a life of wholeness with integrity. He talks about how our joy is not in this world but rather in being in relationship to Jesus and gives plenty of lessons on how to live a life wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus. The book of Ephesians is written by the apostle Paul where Paul summarizes the incredible Gospel story in the first half and then talks about how it should reshape every part of our story in the second half. The last book we suggest reading to start the biblical journey is the book of Acts written by Luke (a traveling co-worker with Paul). Acts is the story of the early church. After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Holy Spirit of God empowered the believers to reach their world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition to reading these books, we offer a class through the Discipleship Essentials Curriculum to help everyone follow the pattern Jesus drew for us. Working through this class will help deepen your knowledge of essential Christian teaching and strengthen your faith so you may help strengthen others.
To receive more information on this class please email one of the pastors (buttons available in Identity Box) and for information on some recommended study bibles and/or to read this book of the Bible online click on the following buttons below.
- Church Membership
- Sunday School
- Small Groups
Community is at the heart of strong and meaningful discipleship. God always desired for us to belong in community and to help others grow as we grow ourselves. Church membership is a way to start that community journey. In becoming members, we acknowledge our desire to invest into our church instead of simply attending and it begins to change from a spiritual house into a spiritual home. Sunday School is another area of learning and growth that we offer on Sunday mornings. In this class, in-between our services, we have a teaching moment whether we dive deeper into the Bible. This is also a time where class participation is encouraged, and questions can be asked about the text being studied. Sometimes there can be a desire to learn about a specific subject or to be in a specific group surrounded by people that are going through the same walks of life as we are and for that we have our connect group ministries. These are groups that meet in different places at different times taught by leaders in the church who have a passion for what they teach and who they teach to. In these times of growth and relationships that are made, there comes a point where it is important to have both an accountability partner and a mentor. An accountability partner is a peer where both parties have complete transparency with each other as far as struggles and life and they push and sharpen one another to be better and to overcome. Mentors are leaders that we look up to who have made a personal commitment to help us grow into stronger men and women of God. The goal of the church is to reach people with the love of Jesus Christ. As we welcome you into the family of God, we desire to walk through life together with you as well.
To receive more information on membership and Sunday school please send Pastor Doug an email (button located in the Identity portion) as well as clicking on the membership button below to watch a video of what membership is in the Wesleyan Church. For small group information please email Pastor Aaron (button located in the Identity portion) on what groups we have to offer as well as any questions about accountability/mentorship and fellowship within the church.
What it means to Become
God meets us where we are, but He isn't desiring to leave us there. In Romans 8:29 we read how God's desire for us will always to be that we are made new in the image of His Son Jesus Christ. As we take these Next Steps we begin to see our lives transforming from a focus on self and into lives that also nurture those around us. Jesus was the greatest example of how our lives should be lived. He portrayed an amazing balance of time alone with God, time shared within a close gathering, and a time where He reached out to the multitude with His love an grace. Jesus calls us to share what we have received while continuing the journey toward becoming Who God has called us to be.
- Spiritual Gifts/First Fruits
- Sharing Christ
- Service in Church
- Involvement in Community
- Intentional Prayer
- Read through N.T., Psalms and
Serving is a way for us to put love into action in our lives. Because all of us are unique, we offer a spiritual gifts assessment where you can discover how God has specifically shaped you to serve. In the Bible, we are called to give God our best(first fruits). God has blessed us with so much, (Proverbs 3:9-10) and in giving back to Him (tithes and offerings) we acknowledge that God is the one who has blessed us. We therefore consider it a privilege to serve the Lord by giving to the Lord's work through the church. We also serve by partnering in areas of ministry within the church. Whether it is leading a Sunday school class, welcoming guests, or joining in some other ministry, God uses us in His church to strengthen each other by serving however He has enabled us. In addition to service within the church, we are given opportunities to minister to our community as well. We are called to share the love of Christ with others. James 2:26 tells us that if our love for Christ is not shared with others, we are failing to put our faith into action; meaning our faith is dead. Just as we have hope in Christ, that hope is needed by everyone and we are expected to share it. As a church we are called to go outside of the church building and reach others in our community through acts of services and love and we accomplish this as the unified body of Christ. Through time in the church and times outside in service, we have moments to pray for others who are going through difficulty in home life, work, family, temptation, etc. Intentional prayer gives an opportunity to lift the prayer requests of others up to God and helps us to encourage each other. As we serve others, we must be diligent to maintain our own spiritual health, otherwise we can become a stumbling block to others instead of helping them. Increasing in Biblical knowledge is one great way to grow, so we encourage you to read the entire New Testament (Matthew to Revelation) as well as the books of Psalms and Proverbs where you will receive refreshment, wisdom, and truth to guide you to become more Christlike in Service.
To take a Spiritual gifts assessment please email Pastor Aaron (button located at the Identity Box). For more information on sharing Christ, service opportunities in the Church and in the community, and how to have intentional prayer please email any of the pastors (buttons located at the Identity Box). To start reading through the New Testament and to read the books of Psalms and Proverbs click on the buttons below.
- Daily Devotions/Quiet Time
- Commitment to Spiritual Habits
- Commitment to Holy Living
- Commitment to Financial Stewardship
- Read Through Entire Bible
- Intentional Sabbath/Retreat
- Leadership Essentials
- Become a Mentor
Becoming more like Jesus isn't primarily about just service, it is about a continuous journey of growth. To sustain growth in our lives, we need to consistently commit to some of the same things Jesus modeled, such as study of the Bible and dedicated time alone with God. We break these down into three primary commitments. First is the commitment of spiritual habits. These are the choices that are consistent priorities in our lives that grow our relationship with God; such as diving deeper in His word, maintaining accountability, and active participation in our church family. Second is the commitment to holy living. This is taking the Fruits of the Spirit as talked about in Galatians 5:22-23 and making them evident in everything we do in our lives whether at home, in church, or out in the world so that others may see Jesus in us. Last there is the commitment of financial stewardship. God has blessed us with all we have and we are called to do two things: first to tithe ten percent of our finances from our first fruits and second, to use what we have been given responsibly in our lives while also being generous to others. As we continue to grow in knowledge of the Word of God, we are encouraged to read the Bible in its entirety. The Bible offers a comprehensive view of God's work in the world and of His righteousness, mercy and grace. An accurate understanding of the New Testament is not possible apart from the content of the Old Testament and therefore is necessary for all believers to read. One of the things that can be studied in reading through the entire Bible is the concept of sabbath and retreat. These vital times of scheduled rest and refreshment help keep us focused and refreshed so we may pour into the lives of others without becoming empty. An additional opportunity for growth the Leadership Essentials workbook (written by the same author of Discipleship Essentials). This study focuses on helping us be effective leaders in the church. At this point we ask for these leaders to become mentors, people who intentionally invest in people on a one on one level to build them us as we have been built up so we may grow and help others grow.
For more information on good resources for daily devotions/quiet time we offer devotional books called Daily Bread that has devotions for every day. Please see an usher on where to find Daily Bread devotionals. To learn about how to commit to spiritual habits, holy living, financial stewardship, intentional sabbath/retreat please email any of the pastoral staff (buttons located at the identity box). To start reading through the entire Bible from the beginning please clicked on the link below (we also have reading guides available). To sign up for Leadership Essentials and to become a mentor please speak with Pastor Doug.
The Next Steps Journey
With the Next Steps model there is a clear path from accepting Jesus for the first time to becoming the strong men and women of God that He always meant for us to be. This journey isn't one that reaches an end when arriving at the final step but is a constant commitment of growth that will last all of our lives. The goal is to be a perfect reflection of Jesus Christ which is unattainable for all of us because of our sin, however, it is one we pursue faithfully because it is what God calls us to and what this World desperately needs. We invite you to join us on this journey from sin to sanctification as we strive to portray the love of Jesus Christ from here to the ends of the Earth.