God is so GOOD! He has blessed us
with an incredible faith family at Open Arms to gather together with and feast on His love and forgiveness and guidance for our lives.
Our church family is filled with new and veteran believers. All of us together are called by Jesus to 'grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.' 2 Peter 3:18 As a matter of fact the word 'disciple' most literally means 'learner.' If we stop learning of His love, and listening to His Word, and following in His footsteps, then we have stopped being a disciple of Jesus.
Open Arms has established a discipleship process to help you 'grow in grace and knowledge' of Jesus whether you are a brand new to the faith or a veteran of the cross. We help you get started with 3 very informative teachings that go along with our mission statement at Open Arms: Serving People, Sharing Jesus, and Sending Servants who make disciples in Belleville and beyond. You get to practice these teachings the rest of your life so that you might have a trajectory of learning and growth as a follower of Christ. Those of us who practice what we have learned about following Jesus through these times together have discovered lives filled with meaning and God's eternal purposes!! Following is an explanation of the diagram.
At Open Arms we believe we are Saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We also believe we are saved to serve. Salvation and Serving are really the two parts of this teaching. These basic Biblical teachings are taught in a seminar by our pastor who will share with you what all of us at Open Arms believe the Lord teaches us in His Word. We believe these teachings are what unite us in God's mission at Open Arms and give us a common foundation together. These basic teachings refresh us with PEACE and HOPE and give us STRENGTH and GUIDANCE for our journey. During our time together we will also review specific details about how we believe our Living Lord, Jesus, is calling Open Arms to build His Kingdom. We learn about Open Arms Mission, Values, Vision, Strategy and Structure.
We believe we are called to BECOME MATURE attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephes. 4:13). This happens as we SHARE or participate in the life of Christ. (John 15:4). The more we experience (share in) Jesus the more we grow. The ancient church called this KOINONIA. Acts 2:42-47 shares the life of Jesus the discipled SHARED together and the life process by which the Holy Spirit grew mature followers of Christ. Acts 2:42-47 says: 'They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. During the 'Sharing Jesus' segment of our discipleship process we immerse ourselves in Jesus. These teachings are experienced in groups of Jesus' followers as we do life together around Jesus. We grow together by sharing in disciplines like Bible study, prayer, fellowship, giving, and serving. All these disciplines keep us connected with Jesus and sharing in Him.
Sending Servants Who Make Disciples
This teaching helps us reflect on God's wonderful work in our lives that has brought us to faith in Jesus. What was your life like before you met Jesus? How did you meet Jesus? '¦ What did God do to bring you into a relationship with him? How has your life been transformed since you met Jesus? The answers to these questions are your WITNESS of what the Risen Jesus has done and is doing for you. The Bible teaches us '¦ 'But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.' 1 Peter 3:15 Are you prepared??? Jesus wants you to be prepared and we are here to help make the preparing fun so that the making of disciples is the most meaningful and greatest joy of your life.
The discipleship process goes on and on in our lives until Jesus takes us home for good. But the information you receive during the Serving, Sharing, and Sending segments of our discipleship process will give you the information you need to know whether God is calling you to be a member of Open Arms. There is no obligation for those who participate in the discipleship process to become members but once you've completed the classes you are welcome to visit with our pastor about becoming a member of Open Arms.