The Way True Life Changes the World

First Followers is a year-long practical study of the process of becoming your best for the world. This is what it means to be formed into the likeness of Christ for the sake of others. The journey will take participants through an exploration of their personal God-narratives, the work of the Spirit, spiritual practices, and community. Through the process we learn how the ancient ways wedded to the Living Truth yields the abundant life.

Four Phases

While the process of spiritual formation is deeply integrated and cannot rightly be compartmentalized, for the purpose of learning we have divided it into four phases. These are Narrative, Yielding, Practice and Community.


Narrative 

We all live out narratives that have been shaped in us over time. Unobserved, these narratives dictate a false way of living. Each narrative is complete with characters including a role for God, and a role ourselves and others in our lives. Conceiving these narratives is simply part of our human experience. In this phase we will explore the false nature of our old narratives and discover ways they can be replaced with new ones that guide us toward living in the Kingdom of God.


Yielding 

Everyone’s soul is aiming toward a perceived version of the good life. But scarcity, fear, insecurity and jealousy tempt us to covet other lives and project a false life. This can be exhausting and destructive to the soul. By surrendering to the Spirit and the resurrection power Christ, we aim in the direction of his love for our lives.


Practice 

Dozens of spiritual practices are available to us helping believers to live like Jesus Christ and develop awareness of the soul’s health. God gives these tools at appropriate moment to be used to complete the work begun in us. As with any tool, one must learn when and how to use it for it to be of any benefit. Fortunately, we have many centuries of teaching from faithful guides from which to learn these ancient ways.


Community 

The two greatest commandments are really two sides of the same coin. We cannot love God without also loving others. Spiritual formation does not happen apart from community and a commitment to be with and for each other helping one another become our best for the world.

The Format

Reading

We have developed a reading schedule that will provide the basis for conversation for our community. In the beginning of the program you will learn about your personal reading style which will determine how you approach the recommended and suggested texts. Reading assignments are distributed in 12-week portions with both recommended main texts and suggested supportive texts. Each week the group will also receive an email inviting participants to ‘post’ insights they come across or questions that arise.


Reflection 

Each 12-week syllabus will include a set of questions for reflection. For each week there are three types of questions geared for a variety of learning and reading styles. Participants are strongly encouraged to write answers to the questions in a journal as a way to track growth and process clearly. However, these responses are personal and will never be the direct source of group conversation.


Gathering 

The community will gather each month. And while we have a template guiding when and where those gatherings will be, since the group is small, it is possible for us to determine our schedule together far in advance. Each gathering will include a meal, worship, supplemental learning from speakers and videos, discussion, personal reflection and supportive accountability.


Retreat

Two of our gatherings will be a 24-hour retreat at a nearby destination. These retreats will give us extended time to explore community, personal growth and learning.

The Syllabus

NARRATIVE Phase

August 26 - November 22, 2024

Proposed Gatherings

Tuesday September 24 (5:30 pm - 9:00 pm)

Retreat 1: October 25 - 26 (5:30 pm - 5:30 pm)

Tuesday, November 12 (5:30 pm - 9:00 pm)


YIELDING Phase 

November 25, 2024 - February 21, 2025

Proposed Gatherings

Tuesday December 10 (5:30 pm - 9:00 pm)

Tuesday January 21 (5:30 pm - 9:00 pm)

Tuesday February 11 (5:30 pm - 9:00 pm)

PRACTICE Phase

February 24 - May 16, 2025

Proposed Gatherings

Retreat 2: February 28 - March 1 (5:30 pm - 5:30 pm)

Tuesday March 25 (5:30 pm - 9:00 pm)

Tuesday April 22 (5:30 pm - 9:00 pm)

Tuesday May 13 (5:30 pm - 9:00 pm)


COMMUNITY Phase

May 19 - August 8, 2025

Proposed Gatherings

Tuesday June 10 (5:30 pm - 9:00 pm)

Tuesday July 22 (5:30 pm - 9:00 pm)

Tuesday August 5 (5:30 pm - 9:00 pm)

The Cost

First Followers is an intensive program and has been developed with an eye to what is needed to reach the objectives rather than how to make the program cost-free. For this reason we ask that participants pay to cover expenses that include food, books and materials, speaker honoraria, retreat usage and rental fees, and small administrative costs. 


Total suggested cost to participate in First Followers: $600 

Quarterly payment option amount: $150/quarter or

Monthly payment option amount: $50/month



We don’t want cost to prohibit anyone that is interested in this valuable formation program. Scholarships are available upon request



The Application

Participants are asked to complete an Application to help program directors learn a little about you and your experience with spiritual formation. It will also serve as a benchmark for your own personal growth as you reflect on what your hopes and anticipated outcomes are for First Followers. The Application also is your way to indicate your commitment to full participation with your colleagues in your First Followers Community.


Fill out the online application HERE to take part in an upcoming First Followers community.