COVID-19 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. Though ministry looks different, 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
In addition to in person worship by reservation, 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. 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
Parenting in these days brings some additional challenges. We have some resources to help here.
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.
Illustrated Ministry Prayers for When You Feel Anxious
Illustrated Ministry provides some great coloring pages, prayer resources and family activities.
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.
Virtual Sunday School Classrooms – Interactive lessons with videos from our faith formation leaders, Bible lesson videos, activities, and more! Learn more here.
Preschool Pals Thursday at 11am via Zoom– A short Bible less and fun activities for preschoolers. Contact Cristi Moore for the link!
Thursday Night Fun via Zoom– All ages are welcome to join us again twice each month at 6:30pm for activities including art, games, and more. Contact Cristi Moore for the dates and link!
We would love to see you in person! If you are interested, sing up for a 30 minute driveway visit and we will contact you soon to set up a safe and socially distanced visit! Click here to sign up!
Youth Faith Formation
Adult Faith Formation
Monthly Pastors’ Bible Study
The next Pastors Bible Studies are scheduled for Tuesday April 6 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.
Daniel Plan study to begin Tuesday March 2 at 6:30pm. Rev. Carol Marsh is leading Zoom-based class through The Daniel Plan. If you long to get healthier, the Daniel Plan can help you get there through Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends. Learn more and register here or email Carol.
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, Dr. Waite Willis, Dr. Kyle Fedler, and Rev. Brian Tiffany.
We are exploring returning to in person gatherings for Followers of the Way. You can provide your input via this short survey.
For more information, contact Warren Pattison.
Upper Room Online Resources
The Upper Room has made some prayer resources available for free. You can access them here.
The Upper Room also has a list of Resources for Spiritual Wellness During COVID-19, including online courses, available here.
Read the popular Daily Devotional and discover other prayer and devotional resources at The Upper Room.
Adult Sunday School Classes
In this time of 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. We anticipate a return to in person Sunday school, with the ability to continue to connect online, in early summer. For more information on connecting with a particular class, email Warren.
- BYKOTA (Be Ye Kind One To Another) – online
Rev. Doug Hallman is currently teaching a series on “Interviews from the Bible” which explores some well known and lesser known characters in the biblical narrative. Meets via Conference Call to (863) 250-1152 or online video chat (email Warren for info). NOTE MEETING TIME: Class starts at 9:00am Sundays. Call opens at 8:55.
- Genesis – in person (with COVID-19 protocols) and via Zoom
This Sunday school class is exploring He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado. Videos for the lessons are available on Amplify Media. The class is meeting in person, with the option to join via Zoom. Masks are required. NOTE MEETING TIME AND LOCATION: Class starts at 9:30am Sundays in the choir room, E-2. Contact Diana for more information.
- Homebuilders – online
This our longest-running Sunday school class, having started in the 1940s. Rev. Brian Tiffany teaches from the Standard Lesson Series Bible study. Meets via Conference Call to (863) 250-1141 or via online video chat (email Warren for info). Class starts at 9:30am Sundays, call is open starting at 9:20am.
- Koinonia – online
The class welcomes all who desire to grow in their love of God and neighbor. You are invited to join them for life application Bible study using the lectionary scripture texts. Rev. Terry Heck leads. Meets via Zoom. Contact Terry or Warren for Zoom link and more information. Class starts at 9:30am Sundays, call is open starting at 9:20am.
- Searchers – online
Gwen Pipkin is leading study of Five Marks of a Methodist by Steve Harper. Based on John Wesley’s pamphlet “The Character of a Methodist”, the study explores five clear practices for anyone who identifies as a Christian. Meets via Zoom. Contact Warren for Zoom link and more information. NOTE MEETING TIME- Class starts at 9:15am Sundays, call is open starting at 9:05am.
- Sendero – online
Their Lenten study is Easter Earthquake by Jim Harnish, facilitated by John Naser. The Gospel of Matthew records two earthquakes, one on Good Friday as Jesus died, and the other on Easter when Jesus was resurrected. In Easter Earthquake, Jim Harnish invites us to place the resurrection at the center of our Lenten journey as we explore how Christ’s resurrection shakes some of our most basic assumptions about ourselves and God. The class meets via Zoom at 9:30am Sundays, call is open starting at 9:20am. Contact Warren for more information.
Meets in person on the first Sunday of the month. In April, they will meet on the second Sunday, April 11. Contact Michael Pippen for more information. Class meets on Sunday March 7 at 1:30pm in the Fountain Courtyard.
- Vanguard – online
This class uses the Adult Bible Studies series. Supplemental videos for the lessons are available on Amplify Media. Meets via Conference Call to (863) 250-1038 or via online video chat (email Warren for link). Class starts at 9:30am Sundays, call is open starting at 9:20am.
Online Courses from Church Next
The classes below are offered through Church Next and our online learning platform. Click on a title to learn more and register. 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.
- This is NOT Sunday School (click title to register)
Even if we can’t physically worship and learn together, we can still draw closer to Jesus Christ.That’s the aim of a new learning experience called “This is NOT Sunday School.” This free, weekly online resource is intergenerational, making it a perfect tool for families and people of all ages. Each week we’ll hear from some really talented communicators as they unwrap the story of the Bible.We launch free sessions 4 days before the upcoming Sunday starting September 16 through December 20. Each week’s session features video teaching by a professional from the Christian formation network, Forma, as well as downloadable lessons and readings.Sessions use Forward Movement’s Exploring the Bible curriculum, which includes many of the most famous stories in the Bible. It’s part of Forward Movement’s free Living Discipleship series.
- Bridging the Political Divide with Parker Palmer (click title to register)
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.
- Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse (click title to register)
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 (click title to register)
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.
- A Covid-19 Spiritual Survival Kit (click title to register)
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.