When you begin a new significant relationship your heart is filled with a mixture of happiness, joy, curiosity and hope. You know the thrill of a beginning. It is an intoxicating, emotional rush. Sadly sometimes people get so fixed on the thrill of a beginning that they never discover the filling richness of a mature relationship. This is especially true when the significant other is Jesus Christ.
Christian maturity is not a matter of being a Christian for a long time. It is the fruit of a well nurtured relationship. At St. James' we understand that every relationship has its own rhythm. Every one has a unique relationship with God because every one is unique. We also know that while everyone’s relationship is unique, the path to maturity is similar. We have a developed process to help people grow in their relationship with God.
Only you can know when you are ready for a deeper commitment. At St. James you will be encouraged to grow, but never coerced. We respect that God has given you control over this relationship. We seek to honor this fact.
Every relationship begins with a beginning, and so does our process. The first step is a commitment to Jesus Christ and a commitment to life with His family: the church. Our first class is our Membership Class (Class 1.0). In this class, participants learn the benefits of belonging to a Christian community, something of St. James' history, how our Pastor came to be here, our mission, the strategy we are implementing to accomplish our mission, the process we offer to help people grow in faith, our structure, and how what we believe is both similar to and different than other churches. This is quite a lot of ground to cover and the class is fast paced.
A key component in each of our classes is the invitation to a deeper relationship with God that is expressed in and facilitated by a deeper commitment. In each class the nature, benefits, and reasons for these commitments are carefully explained. Completion of our Membership Class and agreement to the membership covenant is how you become a member of St. James.
Our second Class is our Maturity Class (Class 2.0). In this class participants learn the benefits of disciplines that help a person grow into maturity. Like our membership Class, this class is about growing by learning.
Our third class is our Ministry Class (Class 3.0). Unlike the first two classes that emphasize growth through learning, this class and the next help the participant grow into maturity by doing. God has given each of us a unique mix of gifts and when we use them to strengthen the church we discover a new level of relationship with Jesus.
Our fourth class is our Mission Class (Class 4.0). Each step towards maturity of relationship provides a foundation for the next. Jesus asked his disciples to take on His mission as their own. Participants in this class discern their unique manner of undertaking Jesus’ mission as their own and the joy it brings them.
Our four classes are like bases on a baseball diamond.
Every relationship needs nurturing or it will fade away into the shadows of lost hopes and dreams, leaving behind lingering regrets forever tied to slowly fading memories. Fortunately while this is too often true of our human relationships, our relationship with God is always recoverable. Thank God. But why lose this most important relationship? Why not grow it instead?