2012 Discipleship Plan

The Reverend Laura Felleman, PhD

“Wait and See the Salvation that God will Work for You.”

-Exodus 14:13

The mission of the United Methodist Church is to “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.”  To fulfill this mission, First United Methodist Church of Plattsmouth, NE follows a Discipleship plan based on the writings of John Wesley.

Salvation in the Wesleyan tradition is conceived as a work that God does for us when we respond to God’s grace with faith.  Wesley taught that grace is extended to everyone, at all times, however we are most likely to experience the transformative power of God’s love when we use the Means of Grace.

The Means of Grace identified by Wesley are:

I. Instituted Means

A.        Prayer

B.        Searching the Scripture

C.        The Lord’s Supper

D.        Fasting

E.        Holy Conversations

F.        Works of Mercy

II. Prudential Means

  1. Christian Assemblies
  2. Stewardship

Wesley encouraged Christians to use these means while they waited to be renewed by God’s grace.  This renewal process had three distinct stages—Repentance, Faith, and Love.  God’s grace causes conviction and repentance.  God’s grace imparts the gift of Faith.  God’s grace inspires positive changes in behaviors, attitudes, judgments, and actions that make us better, more loving people.

In order to familiarize the congregation with these Wesleyan concepts, I preached three sermon series on various aspects of Wesleyan Spirituality:

July series—Grace as the Power of God

August and September series—The Instituted Means of Grace

October series—The Order of Salvation

In September I began to form small groups that encouraged participants to practice the Means of Grace.  At present there is a small group for the youth that meets every Sunday, 10-10:30am, and there are two small groups for the Sunday School teachers that meet once a month.  During the month of October I offered an evening class on Wesleyan Spirituality that provided a more detailed look at Wesley’s teachings.

The church’s current Christian Education and Outreach programs also provide members with opportunities to use the Means of Grace.  Sunday School classes for children and adults engage in prayer, Bible Study, and holy conversation.  The Open Hearts Kitchen is a work of mercy that is supported by members and non-members of all ages. Bible studies are offered Tuesday mornings and evenings and Wednesday mornings.

Sunday morning services at 8:30am and 10:45am are additional Means of Grace available to the congregation.  Public prayers of Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication are regularly lifted up during worship.  The Lord’s Supper is celebrated the first Sunday of every month, and communion is taken to members unable to attend worship.

As new members join the church they follow a four-fold process:

  1. Meet with the pastor to discuss membership vows
  2. Serve as ushers, greeters, liturgists, offering counters, and/or Open Heats Kitchen helpers
  3. Join a Covenant Group and/or Sunday School class
  4. Discuss ministry interests with Pastor

In addition to continuing these ministries of Education, Outreach, Worship, and Nurture, the Goals for 2012 are:

  1. Offer two more Wesleyan Spirituality courses
  2. Form Covenant Discipleship groups for current and new members
  3. Begin committee meetings with holy conversation, i.e.,
  1. “How is it with your soul?”
  2. “What do we need to pray about?”
  3. “Where have you seen God at work?”
  4. “Do you have joys or concerns to share?”
  1. Preach sermon series on the Prudential Means of Grace