The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has brought disruptions and adjustments to daily life for all of us. Our ministry leaders have assembled these resources to help you continue to grow in your faith in these days when we cannot meet face-to-face. While we may not be able to gather in person we know that God is always present with us. If you have questions about accessing any of the resources here, please contact the Christian Education Office at 863-686-3163 or GroupLife@firstumc.org.
For all ages
We are hosting services online via Livestream on our Worship Now page. Both live and archived services are available. Our Contemporary Service will be streamed live at 9:30am Sundays. Our Traditional Service will be streamed live at 11:00am Sundays. Here is a handy sermon notes page for kids worshiping with you.
Streaming Bible Study and Video Services
Amplify Media streams resources from the United Methodist Publishing House, including Deep Blue Kids, youth studies and adult studies. They feature authors like Adam Hamilton, Amy Jill Levine, Jim Harnish, Justin Coleman and many more.
Right Now Media has video resources and Bible studies for all ages from a wide variety of authors. There are animated videos for kids, studies for youth, and a variety of categories for adult studies including general Bible study, women, men, marriage and parenting.
Complete the form at the bottom of the page to request access to Amplify Media and /or Right Now Media. We will add you to the service(s), and you will receive an email from Amplify and/or Right Now to set up your account.
Family Faith Formation
The Parent Cue
The Parent Cue is a website and app that provide you with great information about your child’s age and stage in life. It provides “cues” for conversation and family activities. Find the mobile app in the Apple Store or Google Play. When you install it, be sure to search for “First United Methodist Church of Lakeland, FL” and connect to us so we can stay in touch with more information and content.
In addition to the app, be sure to check out their website, filled with lots of helpful content on parenting.
Family Conversation Starters
“Conversation Starters” are a simple way to engage children and youth in reflecting on scripture. Enjoy the Sunday service together as a family and then allow these simple prompts to spark meaningful conversations throughout the week. Parents, be sure to share, too! Stories from your experience will help them connect the message and bring you closer together. New prompts are provided each Saturday.
Children’s Faith Formation
Children’s Ministry Facebook Group
Our team has launched a Facebook Group for conversation around how we can best support you and your family in this time. We would love to see you there. It is a closed group, and is a separate group from our Children’s Ministry Facebook page.
Monday Lunch Bunch, 12 noon, Zoom
A fun way to catch up with friends and stay connected to our adult faith formation leaders. Email Cristi Moore for the Zoom credentials.
Thursday Fun Nights, 6:30pm, Zoom
On Thursday evenings we have a time of fellowship and fun with interactive activities. Email Cristi Moore for the Zoom credentials.
Youth Faith Formation
One United Youth (grades 6-12) is meeting via Zoom on Sundays at 7pm.
We have 1U game night on Wednesdays at 7pm on Zoom. There is a new theme each week!
Devotional and study resources are posted for you to use at a time that works in your schedule.
Contact Dave Jans for information on accessing these Zoom meetings and devotional resources.
Adult Faith Formation
Monthly Pastors’ Bible Study (First Tuesday)
The next Pastors Bible Studies are scheduled for Tuesday August 4 at 6:30pm.
The Women’s Study will be led by Rev. Melissa Stump and will meet via Zoom.
The Men’s Study will be led by Rev. David McEntire and will meet via Zoom.
Men and women of all ages are invited to attend these studies. For more information on connecting with a particular class, email the pastors or GroupLife@firstumc.org.
Social Principles Book Club: How to Be an Antiracist
A new group is forming to dialogue about issues of race, racial justice, and our United Methodist Social Principles. Educator & Duke Divinity graduate Christi Wright will lead us in a study of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s book How to Be an Antiracist. Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients the conversation about racism and points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. The book can be purchased online in paperback or e-book form. The group will meet online via Zoom, Sundays 6-8pm, July 12 through August 30.
Register and learn more about antiracism here.
Wednesday Men’s Bible Study – Followers of the Way
Wednesdays at 12:15pm
Our weekly Wednesday men’s Bible study, Followers of the Way, is relaunching online. Men of all ages are welcome to join us for fellowship and study on Zoom each Wednesday, 12:15-1:15pm. Bring your lunch if you would like.
We study the scripture for the upcoming Sunday’s sermon. We have a great rotating team of teachers including Rev. David McEntire, Rev. Andy Whitaker Smith, Rev. Brian Tiffany, Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin, and Dr. Kyle Fedler.
For more information, contact Warren Pattison.
Summer in the Scriptures with Bishop Ken Carter
This Summer Bishop Ken Carter invites us to read through the Gospels together. We’ll read a chapter a day – Matthew 1 on June 1, Matthew 2 on June 2, etc. A handy calendar is available here.
Join the Facebook group at for video presentations from scholars, daily prayers, and posts from clergy and laity across the Florida Conference.
Upper Room Online Devotional
Read the popular Daily Devotional and discover other prayer and devotional resources at The Upper Room.
Adult Sunday School Classes
In this time of self-quarantine and physical distancing, many of our adult Sunday School classes have moved to conference calls and online meetings via UberConference or Zoom. Visitors are welcome to join any of these classes. For more information on connecting with a particular class, email Warren.
- BYKOTA (Be Ye Kind One To Another)
In August, Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin he teaches on “Dietrich Bonhoeffer, his Life as Pastor, his Theology, and Martyrdom.” Meets via Conference Call to (863) 250-1152. Class starts at 9:30am Sundays, call is open starting at 9:20am.
Currently exploring Adam Hamilton’s study Simon Peter: Flawed but Faithful Disciple. Complete the form below to request access to Amplify Media to watch the videos that accompany the study. Class meets via Zoom. Contact Diana or Warren for Zoom invite. Class starts at 9:30am Sundays, call is open starting at 9:20am.
This our longest-running Sunday school class, having started in the 1940s. Rev. Brian Tiffany teaches from the Standard Lesson Series Bible study. August’s theme is “Faith and Wisdom in James”. Meets via Conference Call to (863) 250-1141 or online (email Warren for link). Class starts at 9:30am Sundays, call is open starting at 9:20am.
The class welcomes all who desire to grow in their love of God and neighbor as they join together in Bible study. Rev. Terry Heck teaches. Meets via Zoom. Contact Warren for Zoom link and more information. Class starts at 9:30am Sundays, call is open starting at 9:20am.
Is studying of Dallas Willard’s classic book The Divine Conspiracy, facilitated by Roy Canon. Meets via Zoom. Contact Warren for Zoom information. NOTE EARLIER MEETING TIME- Class starts at 9:00am Sundays, call is open starting at 8:50am.
An inter-generational adult class, they are exploring the parables of Jesus, using Amy-Jill Levine’s resource Short Stories by Jesus. Complete this form to request access to Amplify Media to watch the videos that accompany the study. The study is facilitated by John Naser. Meets via Conference Call to (863) 243-6668. Class starts at 9:30am Sundays, call is open starting at 9:20am.
This class uses the Adult Bible Studies series. August’s theme is “Community: A New Way of Life” with lessons taught Kathy Plowman. Study texts come from the Gospels. You may download the current student book, courtesy of Cokesbury. Supplemental videos for the lessons are available on Amplify Media. Meets via Conference Call to (863) 250-1038 or online (email Warren for link). Class starts at 9:30am Sundays, call is open starting at 9:20am. Cokesbury has also made the following Summer quarter materials available for download:
Summer 2020 Student Book
Summer 2020 Daily Bible Study
Summer 2020 Christian Living in the Mature Years
Online Courses from Church Next
The classes below are offered through Church Next and our online learning platform. We have a variety of resources available for online study from our Wesleyan and Methodist tradition. Below is just a sample of some courses that are pertinent to our world and the life of our congregation. If you would like to participate in an online course, independent study or in a group, please contact Warren.
- A Covid-19 Spiritual Survival Kit
The Covid-19 community experience is turning out to be more of a marathon than a sprint. Isolated, anxious, and unsure of what will happen next, our response to the virus has already taken months, and we don’t know when it will end. What can we do to take care of ourselves and others during this difficult time? How can we rely on God to help us survive — spiritually, physically, and emotionally — and to do God’s work in the world? In this course, four instructors offer suggestions to help us manage this period of anxiety, danger, and social isolation.
- The Gospel of Matthew
This summer we will be in a sermon series on Matthew chapters 5 – 7. St. Matthew’s gospel is one of the most popular books in the world, but what was Matthew trying to say, and how does it differ from the other Gospel writers? Bible scholar Katy Valentine gives us a dynamic overview. This course is perfect for those who are new to the Gospel, as well as those looking for a refresher course.
- Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse
How many of us have prayed, ‘Lord make me an instrument of your peace,’ then found ourselves in complex and polarized situations that made peace seem impossible? If so, this course is for you. No matter how far apart two sides are, there are effective strategies to bring people together. This course shows us how.
- Prayer and Worship in Our Homes
The Early Church understood the importance of drawing near to Christ when the act of physically coming together became problematic. In an age of COVID-19, our inability to draw near to one another should not affect our ability to draw near to God. This free, multi-part course is designed for Christians to use this time of separation from one another as a time of drawing near to God.
- Bridging the Political Divide with Parker Palmer
Learn how to walk through our divisive political climate with grace and peace. Author and activist Parker J. Palmer shares inspirational and practical knowledge on how we might approach deep political division.
Online Community Groups Interest Meeting August 12
On Wednesday August 12 at 7:30pm, we will have a Zoom information session for those interested in being part of new online community groups. If you are interested in learning more about being part of an online Zoom community group, register here or email Warren.