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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    CenterPoint Christian Fellowship: Climbing the discipleship staircase

    November 25, 2019 / By By Wayne Clemens and Jay Scienza, Pastors, CenterPoint Christian Fellowship

    Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the 2019 Issue II of the Advocate. Click here to read the issue. 

    At CenterPoint Christian Fellowship Church in Barneveld, New York; in the Mohawk District of the Upper New York Annual Conference, God has blessed us with incredible growth and has created an atmosphere where there is a deep spiritual longing to love God more, to grow in our faith in new ways, to serve the needs of the community, and to share all that we have learned with others. Our deliberate disciple making process has been a large part of that growth. We believe that much of its success is due to its simplicity, as we live out the mission given to us by Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19,  “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...”

    As we focus upon that mission, we live it out through the vision that God has given to us to: LOVE – GROW – SERVE – SHARE, as we Love God and others, Grow together in community, Serve our neighbors and the world, and Share Christ always and everywhere. This is the basis of all that we do at CenterPoint; every ministry stems from it and our discipleship plan is built around it. We believe getting hooked up with the vision is to get hooked up with God’s purpose for our worship, fellowship, and the discipleship that naturally follows.

    Our discipleship plan takes the form of a staircase model, utilizing the love, grow, serve, share vision. Each step along the way is another spiritual marker on our journey of faith where we have discovered that growing as a disciple is much more than just getting together for an hour on a Sunday morning. As we have heard discipleship recently defined, “It is a way of life for the rest of your life,” and so we encourage a lifestyle of discipleship for those who become a part of this faith community.

    For most, the entry point at CenterPoint is the Sunday morning worship experience. That is where most “Step In,” however that is not always the case. Many have also stepped in through growth groups or service opportunities. But no matter where folks “Step In” we encourage them to become a part of the “Next Step” Sessions as an opportunity to “Step Up” and take the next step that God may be calling them to on this journey of faith.

    Next Step is a six-week program that discusses the basics of faith in Christ, the history of the church, our purpose in reaching others for Christ, and to uncover how we can do our part locally to transform our communities and the world. We share about the mission and vision of CenterPoint, offer a spiritual gifts inventory and give participants a taste of what “Growing together in community” looks like. Some of the relationships that have been established in the Next Step sessions have continued on and grown even deeper as those participants have moved along together on the staircase. The staircase model brings that important visual to help guide us along the way so that we might see what step we are on along this faith journey. Steps such as Worship, Next Step Classes, Large Group Discipleship, One-on-One Discipleship, and CenterPoint Groups give a framework to individuals as they become a part of the Body of Christ. However, it also gives them freedom to discover what God has called them to as they love, grow, serve, and share with us.

    We offer several options for folks seeking to take next steps toward “Growing together in community,” including but not limited to: short-term, four to six week discipleship gatherings where 30-40 will gather initially for a large group book study or DVD based study and then break out into smaller groups to go deeper. We offer one-to-one discipleship coaching for those who prefer a one-on-one approach to discipleship around seven spiritual disciplines utilizing a coach approach over a six-month period. We also offer several community groups that meet in homes, diners and restaurants, or out on our 50 acres of trail system. These groups are focused on building long-term relationships and focused upon various topics and interests. Many of these groups continue on the staircase together as they “Step Out” to serve in various ways “within” and “without” the church, sharing Christ always and everywhere as they “Step Around” and participate in many of the ministry opportunities that God provides.

    Most recently, we have formed several new CenterPoint Groups. These target specific areas of hurt that are sometimes left unaddressed such as Divorce, Remarriage and Blended Families; Lost and Found (dealing with and working through grief or the loss of a loved one); Recovery (for those dealing with or have a family member dealing with substance abuse and/or addiction), and a vibrant Young Ladies group which focuses on young women’s issues. The goal of each group is to “encourage and empower” those who are hurting, to share Christ, and bring healing to their whole being, spirit, soul, and body. They meet, not in the church building, but in the facilitator’s home, out for coffee or at an event. These are encouragement groups designed to support one another through these challenges and to show those in the community that they are not alone.

    Through the CenterPoint Discipleship Staircase, we walk alongside each other step- by-step, encouraging one another along the way, growing as disciples, so that we too might go into all the world & make disciples for the transformation of the world, as we LOVE, GROW, SERVE, and SHARE in all the ways God is calling us.


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."