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Images of growth and development abound in the New Testament. The Free Methodist Church seeks to help every believer to grow up into Christ (see Ephesians 4). Initiation into the life of the kingdom involves a variety of components:

  • Conversion (regeneration of persons repentant and trusting in Christ by the Holy Spirit)
  • Baptism (joining the community of faith)
  • Creed (owning the basic intellectual claims of Christendom)
  • Morality (appropriating the moral vision of Christ’s Kingdom)
  • Spiritual Gifts (receiving, understanding and developing particular gifts and capacities
    which enable the Christian to serve)
  • Disciplines (appropriating the basic spiritual disciplines to ensure ongoing spiritual

With each, there is need for Christian Education, encouragement, accountability and care. Free Methodist Churches will seek to nurture believers toward growth in each of these areas, and in our mission to evangelize and serve.

One way of conceptualizing the nurture process is found in Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven
Church (Zondervan, 1995). The “Base” materials described in this book have been adapted for
use in Free Methodist Churches. It depicts the Christian nurture process (using the diagram of a baseball diamond) as follows:

Base 1 – leading people to Christ and church membership
Base 2 – growing people to spiritual maturity
Base 3 – equipping people with the skills they need for ministry
Base 4 – enlisting people in the worldwide mission of sharing Christ


Abundant resources exist in books, magazines, journals and elsewhere for developing full-orbed theology and practice for Christian nurture. Many Free Methodist Churches are further
developing processes based on the four-base model of Warren. Denominational leaders and
others who demonstrate discernment and understanding regarding Christian nurture theology and practice can guide people to these resources.