Being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires the desire to always grow deeper in the faith and exploring the questions of life through the lens of the cross of Jesus Christ. If anyone says they have reached the end of their learning as a disciple, they are mistaken.
There is a legend of St Augustine having a vision, and in the vision was an angel taking a seashell, scooping water from the ocean, and dumping it into a sandy pool. Augustine inquired what the angel was doing, who replied that he was trying to empty the contents of the ocean into the small pool. Augustine replied, "That can't be done!" The angel replied, "I'd sooner accomplish emptying the sea into this pool than you will successfully place all the mysteries of the Triune God in your head."
There are many opportunities at GSLC for children and their families to grow in the faith.
- Sunday School classes beginning in pre-school.
- An annual Children's Christmas Musical.
- Periodic children's dramas of the parables of Jesus.
- An exciting week of Vacation Bible School each June.
- Young Family Ministries (YFM) meets four times a year for spiritual growth, fun, and activities (Easter Egg Hunt, Summer Splash, Fall Festival, Christmon Tree Decorating). This is for age 3 through grade 2.
- God's Young Followers (GYF) is for grades 3 through 5. This group meets more frequently throughout the years and tries to build friendships and faith experiences.
There are numerous ways for youth to grow in faith at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
- Confirmation Classes are taught by the pastors with 6th through 8th grade students. These three years explore the finer points of the Christian faith and how they apply to the lives of these youth. A week of Confirmation Camp takes place at Camp Lutherock each June. Youth are also mentored during these three years by adults in the congregation.
- Sunday Schools classes exist for middle school aged youth and for high school aged youth.
- The Youth Of Good Shepherd (YOGS) is for all youth from 6th through 12th grades. The YOGS meet regularly for themed activities, including service projects, growth in relationships, learning, and outreach.
- The YOGS have participated in GraceWorks since its founding. This is a inter-Lutheran group of youth from the Columbia area that takes a week each year to serve those who are most vulnerable in our community: homeless, elderly, children in poverty, etc.
- Every three years, the ELCA hosts the National Youth Gathering. Good Shepherd has long participated in this, and we look forward to going to Houston in 2015.
There are also opportunities for adults to continue their growth in the faith.
- We have four adult Sunday School Classes, all of which meet in the lower level below the sanctuary:
- The Fellowship Class (Classroom 3) is led by primarily by Walter Robertson. They use a study guide to walk them through different books of the Bible.
- The Come & See Class (Classroom 1) has a rotating list of teachers. Each teacher will lead for about a month at a time, covering a variety of topics. The class encourages discussion and dialogue.
- The Parlor Class (the Parlor) is primarily led by Mitch Mackinem. This class tends to walk through a topic (e.g. Salvation history in the Old Testament) over the course of months. A steady back-and-forth of conversation takes place, and this class also coordinates and provides a quarterly meal at the Transitions Homeless shelter, where they are affectionately known as "The Chili People."
- The Around the Corner Class (Classroom 2) is usually led by one of our pastors. A lively discussion always takes place while they focus on a monthly theme that is sometimes quirky, sometimes eloquent, but always engaging.
- The Tuesday Bible Study meets from 11:30am to 12:30 pm in Classroom 2 on the Tuesdays between September and May.
- Centering Prayer is held on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. in Classroom 4. Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and helps build communities of faith.
- While the children have their VBS, there is a class that week that is offered for adults.
- There are occasional series of classes that are offered, the Adult Confirmation classes in particular. This is for individuals who never went through confirmation studies or for those who would like to have a refresher.