What is Foundations?
Foundations is a new monthly class designed to equip GMH members and regular attenders with the basic doctrines (theology) and ethics of the Christian faith. Each class, taught by Pastor Duke, will take place immediately after our worship service from 12:10pm-1:00pm on the 1st Sunday of the month. Foundations is designed to be substantive but to the point, relevant to real life, and accessible to all. Please feel welcome to prepare your own “brown bag lunch.” We are currently exploring ways to organize childcare support for families.
We will be using The New City Catechism (see below) as the starting point for the teaching — typically covering 1-3 questions at a time — followed by a time of discussion. This study will lead us into conversations about (for example):
a one-sentence definition of “God”
whether “creation” conflicts with “evolution”
how God being three persons changes everything
what counts as “lying” (and whether it’s so bad)
why God wants you to rest
the true meaning of “sin”
whether “hell” is real (or hot)
how there’s no gospel if Jesus wasn’t fully human
what really happened when Jesus died
what “sanctification” means
who is the “Holy Spirit”
Why Do Foundations Matter?
Growing in the Christian life is a gradual and holistic process. We don’t become more like Jesus simply by sitting in a classroom. Rather, we live out the implications of the gospel in community (Eph. 4:13-15); we persevere in trials (James 1:4); we learn to love in accordance with our faith (Gal. 5:6); we mature “on the way” and in the trenches of everyday life! That’s why “discipleship” isn’t a single department at Grace Meridian Hill. Christian “formation” (Col. 1:28) takes place during Sunday worship, in our small groups (Moms Group, Neighborhood Groups, etc.), at LIFT or Men’s Fellowship Breakfasts, in the counselor’s office, and while serving on a ministry team or loving our neighbors.
But scripture is also clear that our lives are patterned after our beliefs. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2; Heb. 5:12-13). Jesus calls us to teach and learn all that he promises and commands (Matt. 28:20). So, Christian formation must extend far beyond the classroom — into our relationships, homes, street corners, and workplaces. But sometimes the classroom is where it starts. That’s where a class like Foundations comes in. We’re planting seeds of biblical truth in our hearts and mind and praying that they bear the fruit of faith, hope, and love for all of live.
Here’s another reality: Historic Christian beliefs are becoming increasingly “new” to our generation. Many of us didn’t grow up in the Christian church — or we did, but we're not sure what to believe. Questions about beliefs and ethics, both in private and public life, are becoming more confusing than ever. Foundations is an introductory course, but it will aim to lay down biblical grounds for some of the biggest and most basic questions we face in life.
Who is Foundations for?
Everyone is welcome to join us for this exciting new class — whether you’re new to the Christian faith or a long-time follower of Christ! We urge GMH members, team and group leaders in particular, to consider participating. (How can I RSVP for the first class on Sunday, October 7?)
Please let us know if you have any questions about this exciting new learning opportunity. We’re eager to kick-off this class and very hopeful that the Lord will use it for your good and the glory of Christ at Grace Meridian Hill.
What's the New City Catechism?
The New City Catechism is a new resource, a very helpful summary of the core doctrines of the Christian faith via question-and-answer format. (That’s what a catechism is.) It is based on some of the richest articulations of the Christian faith in history. The 52 questions and answers are both accessible and rich in meaning. There’s even a simplified version for children. Some of you may choose to memorize the catechism as we study it (which is how a catechism is best internalized), but during Foundations classes we will simply use it as the basis for our theological study.
One of the great things about the New City Catechism is that multiple resources that have been recently created to aid the learning process. There’s a beautifully designed booklet of the full catechism (including one for kids), along with a devotional book (i.e., two short readings that help explain the meaning of each question/answer), a mobile app for your Apple or Android device (so you can read and reflect while on-the-go!), and catechism-based Songs(also on YouTube) for kids — or for you!
Over time, we hope to develop the use of this resource across our community. For more on The New City Catechism, read this helpful Introduction. If you’re new to (or even skeptical of!) the idea of “catechesis” or “catechisms” as a instructional tool for you or your children, consider reading “A Catechism—with OUR Kids?”.