We Exist to grow Together in Faith
God’s grace is a continual presence in our lives. Through studying the scriptures, prayer, and serving others, this grace will grow our love and understanding of God. We invite you to join our small group studies and Sunday school classes to help you grow in your own relationship with God.
Our adult Sunday School classes are taught as a single, hybrid class at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. You may attend in person at the church (*must be COVID-19 vaccinated) or you can attend online via ZOOM. All of our mid-week small group studies and Intentional Prayer time are online-only, via ZOOM.
Get Connected to grow: e-mail email@example.com for the ZOOM links, information on how to join a small group or attend Sunday School classes, and other learning opportunities.
grow with God in 2023
As part of our Grow with God campaign for 2023, you are encouraged to read the Bible, from beginning to end, over the course of the year. Below you will find printable copies of the entire daily reading guide, which divides the scripture up into sections that can easily fit into your busy schedule, as well as bi-monthly bookmarks.
Sunday Morning grow Group Summer Study: Inspired by God
This summer, we will follow the Adult Bible Studies series Inspired by God. The purpose of this study is to help us look at the careful design of Scripture and the art and poetry through which it touches our hearts and minds. It then move into a consideration of one of Scripture’s most practical categories, wisdom literature, followed by a look at some of Scripture’s heroes, who might surprise us.
The class meets online in ZOOM and in-person in a classroom at Atlanta First at 9 a.m. EDT on Sunday mornings. Please register or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the links for the class ZOOM meeting. Let’s grow with God together!
Tuesdays: Disciple IV Bible Study
Disciple Bible Study resumes with orientation on Tuesday, August 8, 2023 at 6:30 pm. We will be studying Disciple IV: Under the Tree of Life. The study concentrates on Old Testament Writings from August to December. The Gospel of John, the Epistles of John, James, Jude, and finally, Revelation are the focus in the Spring session from January to May. Emphasis on the Psalms as Israel’s hymnbook and prayer book leads naturally to an emphasis on worship throughout the study. Present through the entire study is the sense of living toward completion – toward the climax of the message and the promise, extravagantly pictured in Revelation. The image of the tree and the color gold emphasize the prod and promise in the Scriptures. The word under in the title is meant to convey invitation, welcome, sheltering, security, and rest – home at last. Let’s grow with God together!
This grow group will meet via ZOOM on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. EDT, beginning on August 8, 2023. Lead Pastor Rev. Jasmine R. Smothers will be the facilitator.
Wednesday Evening grow Group for 2023
In a world of so much uncertainty and crisis, we often find ourselves in need of grounding and community. That’s what our Wednesday night grow group offers—a safe place to reflect and wonder about the world with fellow believers, doubters, and explorers. The group is following Magrey DeVega’s The Bible Year. This grow group meets online via ZOOM every Wednesday at 7 p.m. EDT. Please register to receive the ZOOM link. All are welcome!
Thursdays: Jesus in the Gospels
The Thursday Morning grow group will resume in August with a new study based on Jesus in the Gospels by Leander Keck. This study illuminates an aspect of Jesus in the Gospels each week and connects scripture to daily life and Jesus’ call to discipleship. The overarching aim is to deepen discipleship through better understanding of the biblical texts and their message. The study helps group members understand that Jesus is rooted in Judaism and the Scriptures of Judaism and that Christianity and the New Testament are rooted in the Scriptures of Judaism—our Old Testament.
This grow group will meet via ZOOM, Thursdays from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT, beginning on August 10. The class will be led by Rev. Dr. Jacqui Rose-Tucker. Please register if you wish to participate, to receive the ZOOM link. All are welcome!
Book Club: The Fourth Monday Each Month
Resumes in September
Love to read? Join our Book Club on the fourth Monday of every month to discuss some of the hottest reads in the last several years through the lens of faith. The group meets online via ZOOM. To receive the ZOOM connection info, if you have questions or if you need help purchasing a book, please send an email to email@example.com.
The Book Club is on break until September, when we will be reading Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion by Sara Miles. We will meet on September 25 at 7 p.m. to discuss the book.
To receive the ZOOM link or if you need help purchasing any of the books, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creating a Safe Sanctuary
Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes a child … welcomes me” (Matthew 18:5). Children are our present and our future, our hope, our teachers, our inspiration. They are full participants in the life of the church and in the realm of God.
Jesus also said, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones … it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). Our Christian faith calls us to offer both hospitality and protection to the little ones, the children. The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church state that “children must be protected from economic, physical, emotional and sexual exploitation and abuse.” (¶ 162C).
Tragically, churches have not always been safe places for children. Child sexual abuse, exploitation, and ritual abuse [“ritual abuse” refers to abusive acts committed as part of ceremonies or rites; ritual abusers are often related to cults, or pretend to be] occur in churches, large and small, urban and rural. The problem cuts across all economic, cultural, and racial lines. It is real, and it appears to be increasing. Most annual conferences can cite specific incidents of child sexual abuse and exploitation within churches. Virtually every congregation has among its members adult survivors of early sexual trauma.
Such incidents are devastating to all who are involved: the child, the family, the local church and its leaders. Increasingly, churches are torn apart by the legal, emotional, and monetary consequences of litigation following allegations of abuse.
God calls us to make our churches safe places, protecting children and other vulnerable persons from sexual and ritual abuse. God calls us to create communities of faith where children and adults grow safe and strong.
Thus, in covenant with all United Methodist congregations, we have a policy for the prevention of abuse at Atlanta First United Methodist Church and accompanying procedures to demonstrate our absolute and unwavering commitment to the physical safety, emotional well-being, and spiritual growth of all our children, youth, and vulnerable adults. Find a copy of that policy HERE.
This form is for unintentional acts which occur on church property or during church events and someone is hurt. For example: A child falls on the playground; an older adult slips on the floor; a tooth is knocked out during youth basketball.
This form is used when an action is observed that does not require reporting to DFCS, but does require attention by staff or clergy. For example: A Sunday School teacher “loses it” with a class; an adult “in charge” walks out of a classroom to get supplies and leaves children briefly unattended.
This form is used when a volunteer or staff person sees, has been told of, or suspects a child, youth or vulnerable adult has been abused in some way. For example: A youth confides abuse to a counselor; a child comes to Sunday School with bruising and injuries he can’t/won’t explain; a homebound visitor finds a senior adult without food in the house.
This Suspected Abuse Follow-Up Form is used to record additional steps taken by staff to address the Suspected Abuse.
A form to give permission to the church to use your image, or the image of someone you are the legal guardian of, in print, web, video, and all other media. Please fill out separate forms for all adults and children in a given household. Please email the completed pdf form to email@example.com.
A form for parents or guardians of children and youth to fill out with emergency contact and insurance information. Please email the completed pdf form to firstname.lastname@example.org.