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Core Competencies at

St. Thomas UMC


At St. Thomas, we believe discipleship is important for everyone!  No matter what your age or stage in your relationship with Christ -- we believe God wants us to be life-long learners.  But what EXACTLY should we be learning as we grow more like Christ?  As a church we have tried to create clarity and consensus about an intentional plan for Christian formation that includes teaching calendars for the ministry programs as well as a sustainable plan for milestones and special events to maximize the impact of the goals for Christian formation.  

The following “Core Competencies” evolved out of a discernment process at the annual Leadership Summit in 2020.  There we asked, "What do we want children and youth to feel, know and do by the time they graduate from high school and launch into adulthood?"   During this process, we realized that we want adults to build and expand their experience of faith in these same areas too -- but at an even deeper level! 

And so, these core competencies became the roadmap for discipleship across the church -- starting with children, building with youth, and expanding and deepening with adults.  Please keep in mind that the core competencies are manifested in a variety of ways - learning, doing, and even “catching” (i.e., there are times when something is “caught” rather than taught explicitly).  We hope that as you read over the core competencies that we have identified, you are energized to take your next faithful step in the journey towards maturing faith.

Once you begin a relationship with God, you quickly discover there is always more to discover and learn.  

The four core competencies for our discipleship journey, with some detail:

1. God’s Love

  • Experiencing unconditional love & forgiveness

  • Extending a wide welcome and accepting others

  • Belonging to a community

2. Identity in Christ

  • Developing a personal relationship with Christ

  • Understanding Christian beliefs

  • Experiencing Christian traditions

  • Engaging the spiritual journey over the course of my life (i.e., having faith that sticks)

3. Bible Knowledge

  • Knowing how to navigate the Bible

  • Learning Bible stories

  • Seeing the big picture of God’s story and how I fit in

4. Christian Living

  • Developing spiritual habits

  • Discovering my call / vocation

  • Applying faith to everyday life

  • Appreciating & celebrating our Wesleyan heritage

  • Understanding church history

  • Engaging with the community through service

  • Gaining awareness of world religions / mission

  • Being able to share my faith and defend it

  • Christian ethics and moral thinking

  • Providing emotional and spiritual support

  • Becoming an advocate for positive, social change

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