Growing At First Family
Becoming a fully devoted disciple of Jesus Christ is the overarching goal of everything we do at First Family, and influences the decision-making process we follow.
The pursuing true discipleship impacts every area of our ministry. From birth to senior adults, we want to teach and model what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. We have identified 30 different characteristics of godly men, women, and children that are deeply rooted in a biblical description of a disciple. These characteristics are divided into three areas–Core Beliefs (doctrine), Core Practices (lifestyle), and Core Virtues (spiritual fruit). You can learn more about each of these areas below.
Through the teaching and equipping ministries of FFC, we seek to help prepare you as an individual, as a family, as a servant of Jesus Christ, and ultimately as a church to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, which we believe is summarized by the word discipleship.
Here are three things to keep in mind as you seek to grow spiritually:
- Discipleship is a journey. Don’t expect to fulfill your quest to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ in a day, a month, or even a year. Discipleship is a life-long journey that will carry you into your old age. Regardless of how old you are, you will always be growing and maturing in your Christian walk until you enter into God’s eternal rest.
- Discipleship is accomplished in community. The Bible clearly describes the type of biblical community we desire here at First Family in the second chapter of Acts. Biblical community is rooted in small groups and in large group worship. Through your small group, the weekend worship, and your own individual quiet time, you will see spiritual growth and fruit. Discipleship cannot be accomplished in isolation.
- Discipleship is a work of God’s Spirit, not a program. Spiritual growth is not the result of a program. Sermons, classes, books, and other teaching materials will help in the process, but true spiritual growth is only accomplished when the Holy Spirit works in coordination with God’s Word to produce fruit. While it is important to be disciplined and to study, your goal must be spiritual transformation, not simply the acquisition of knowledge or information.
Below are the overarching life objectives of a disciple. We believe each of these is a descriptive component of what we would call a godly man or woman. Each of the Core Beliefs, Core Practices, and Core Virtues contribute to these objectives.
- We know Christ as Lord and Savior (John 8:30).
- We have an assurance of our salvation (John 20:31).
- We have a thirst for God’s Word and to grow spiritually (John 8:31).
- We communicate with God and know Him personally (Luke 11:1).
- We have been scripturally baptized and exhibit personal stewardship in a local church (Ephesians 4:11-12).
- We can apply biblical truths of Christianity to everyday life (John 13:33-34).
- We have come to a point of forsaking all to follow Christ (Luke 14:33).
- We model lifestyle behavior consistent with scriptural teaching (Romans 12:1-2).
- We are actively drawing non-believers to Christ (John 15:8).
- We are effectively reproducing disciple makers (John 15:16).
10 Core Beliefs (Doctrine)
- The Bible (2 Timothy 3:16–17): We believe the Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God, and the final authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
- God the Father (Psalm 121:1–2): We believe God is personally involved in and cares about the daily lives of His children.
- Jesus Christ (John 1:12): We believe in Jesus Christ, His deity, virgin birth, sinless life, vicarious death, burial and bodily resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father and His personal future return in power and glory. We are significant only because of our position as children of God.
- The Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14): We believe the God of the Bible is the only true God and is eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Humanity (John 3:16): We believe all people are born separated from God by sin, but God in his love sent his Son Jesus Christ as their savior.
- Eternity (John 14:1–4): We believe there is a heaven and a hell and that Jesus Christ is returning to judge the earth and to establish his kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the dead: the believer to life everlasting and the unbeliever to the resurrection of judgment.
- The Church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 4:15-16): We believe in the church as the body of Christ, which is composed of all believers who have accepted Christ as Savior. We believe the church is God’s primary way to accomplish His purposes on earth today.
- Stewardship (1 Timothy 6:17-19): We believe that everything we have, including our very life, belongs to God.
- Salvation by Grace (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:23-25; 8:38-39): We believe a person has a right relationship with God only by His grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. This makes believers eternally secure in Jesus Christ.
- Compassion (Psalm 82:3-4): We believe God calls all Christians to show compassion to those in need.
10 Core Practices (Lifestyle)
- Worship (Psalm 95:1-7): I worship God for who He is and what He has done for me.
- Bible Study (Hebrews 4:12): I study the Bible diligently to know God, to become like Christ, and to discern His will for my life.
- Service (Colossians 3:17): I give away my time to fulfill God’s purposes.
- Witness (Matthew 28:18-20): I live to tell the story of Jesus and to make disciples of Him even to the ends of the earth, knowing he is with me always.
- Biblical Community (Acts 2:44-47): I fellowship with other believers in a small group to accomplish God’s purposes in my life, others’ lives, and in the world.
- Prayer (Psalm 66:16-20): I pray to God to know Him, to lay my request before Him and to find direction for my daily life.
- Spiritual Gifts (Romans 12:4-6): I know and use my spiritual gifts to accomplish God’s purposes.
- Authenticity (John 13:33-34): I know and understand biblical truths and transfer these truths into everyday life. Who I am on the inside and outside is a pure reflection of Christ and His Word.
- Simplicity (Matthew 6:33): I seek to live a simple life focused on God and his priorities in my life.
- Possessions (Luke 16:11–12): I seek to maintain an eternal perspective on money and possessions, realizing God has given me all that I have, and that he expects me to manage it wisely for His glory.
10 Core Virtues (Spiritual Fruit)
- Gentleness (Philippians 4:5): I am thoughtful, considerate and calm in dealing with others.
- Faithfulness (Proverbs 3:3-4): I have established a good name with God and with others based on my long-term loyalty to those relationships.
- Hope (Hebrews 6:19-20): I can cope with the hardships of life and with death because of the hope I have in Jesus Christ.
- Joy (John 15:11): I have inner contentment and purpose in spite of my circumstances.
- Love (1 John 4:10-12): I sacrificially and unconditionally love and forgive others.
- Peace (Philippians 4:6-7): I am free from anxiety because things are right between God, myself and others.
- Self-Control (Titus 2:11-13): I have the power, through Christ, to control myself.
- Humility (Philippians 2:3-4): I choose to esteem others above myself.
- Patience (Proverbs 14:29): I take a long time to overheat and endure patiently under the unavoidable pressures of life.
- Kindness/Goodness (1 Thessalonians 5:15): I choose to do the right things in my relationships with others.