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What Is Growing University?
What Is Growing University?
Growing University (GU) is what we call the educational component of discipleship. However, Growing University is not solely about academia (in spite of the name). Growing “U” is more about growing you. The desire is to offer in-depth biblical teaching that produces life-change. GU challenges us to a deeper understanding of God’s Word through personal application.
What Is Discipleship?
Discipleship should not be an isolated ministry department of a church. Instead, it must weave throughout the tapestry of every ministry within the church. At Grace Point, discipleship is part of our worship, small groups, children & student ministries, as well as the GU courses. There are three aspects to authentic discipleship.
Discipleship is Relational
Discipleship cannot occur in isolation from other believers. Followers of Christ must set aside time to be with other Christians for spiritual nourishment and encouragement. There are dozens of “one another” commands found in the New Testament. We cannot “love one another” or “teach one another” or “bear with one another” if we never spend time with “one another.” Therefore, we believe Small Groups play a major role in the discipleship process. Love for God, love for our neighbors, and love for other disciples are a very important part of the value system of a healthy disciple. Ephesians 4:11-16 makes it clear that every part of the body is necessary, “being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body.”
Discipleship is Transformational
The healthy disciple understands the purpose of spiritual growth is directed toward becoming like Christ in character (e.g. words, thoughts, attitudes, and actions). As we spend time in both prayer and God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will speak to us as we live out our faith. Therefore, we believe Spiritual HABITS play a major role in the discipleship process. Daily “Hang Time” with the Lord, “Accountability” in a Small Group, “Bible” memorization, “Involvement in ministry and mission, “Tithing” commitment, and “Sermon” application are all tools the Holy Spirit uses to bring about life-change. The church must be intentional to develop people who genuinely love God, love the lost, and love believers. Discipleship is not a program it’s an intentional pursuit of life transformation.
Discipleship is Sacrificial
The greatest growth takes place when a disciple learns what is commanded in Scripture and then does what it says. The healthy disciple is willing to deny themselves and take up their cross daily to follow Christ. The healthy disciple understands that Christian sacrificial living is not just about self-denial, but sacrifice for the advancement of the Great Commission. Therefore, we believe missional living plays a major role in the ongoing discipleship process. A healthy mark of maturity is taking off the bib and putting on the apron. One of the greatest ways to mature in our faith is helping others understand the Gospel.
Who is Growing University for?
Everyone! One of the greatest challenges of ministry is developing a discipleship strategy that engages people at all levels of spiritual maturity. New Christians need to be introduced to the foundational doctrines of the faith, while maturing Christians need to be challenged in the depth of their application of biblical truths
Can I take the courses out of order?
There is a natural progression of the courses in numerical order. The 100-level classes are shorter in length and are best taken in sequence. The 200, 300, and 400 level courses can be taken in any order
What is STARTING POINT?
“STARTING POINT: A Covenant Partnership in the Gospel” is our first four GU courses (also called “The First Diamond”). See GU Course Descriptions for details of each course.
Are there courses in addition to these?
Yes! 500 Level Courses are seminars and course electives that focus on such areas as parenting, finances, and other interests. 600 Level Courses are on-location electives that range from a guided tour of the Holy Land to visiting the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. For a more complete list of courses see the GU Course Descriptions section.
Growing University Course Catalog
100 Level Courses
GU 101: Covenant Partnership introduces you to our church family. We present the plan of salvation. We take a look at our church’s beliefs, mission, core-values, and vision. We explain the strategy of our discipleship process as well as our church’s structure.
GU 102: Spiritual Growth introduces you to essential spiritual disciplines for continued healthy growth as a Christian. Once you are connected to the church through a small group it is important to begin developing spiritual disciplines.
GU 103: Ministry in the Church introduces you to how God has SHAPED you for ministry and mission. As you mature in your faith through spiritual disciplines you will begin to see the need for serving the needs of others through the church.
GU 104: Mission in the World introduces you to the need for sharing your faith with others. Every maturing disciple should have a ministry within the church and a mission in the world. We will discover our role in God’s mission to redeem the world and join Him in His work.
200 Level Courses
GU 201: Old Testament Survey takes a Christological approach to understanding the Old Testament. This course surveys the 39 books of the Old Testament and pays attention to appearances, prophecies, and the Gospel of Christ. Click HERE to watch the GU 201 promotional video.
GU 202: New Testament Survey takes a Gospel-centric approach to understanding the New Testament. This course surveys the 27 books of the New Testament and pays attention to the emphasis of the Gospel in each book.
GU 203: Systematic Theology I is the first of two courses that take a systematic approach to understanding theological subjects. Topics include: Scripture, God, Angels, Satan, and Demons.
GU 204: Introduction to Hermeneutics takes an exegetical approach to reading, interpreting, and applying Scripture. The Bible itself helps us understand how to properly understand the Scriptures.
300 Level Courses
GU 301: The Book of Genesis takes a Gospel-centric approach to understanding the book of beginnings. The Gospel has been God's plan from the very beginning. Click HERE to watch the GU 301 promotional video.
GU 302: According to John takes a Gospel-centric approach to understanding the Gospel According to John. John's purpose in his Gospel account is to encourage the reader to believe in Christ.
GU 303: Systematic Theology II is the second of two courses that takes a systematic approach to understanding theological subjects. Topics include: Mankind, Sin, Salvation, the Church, and End Times.
GU 304: Introduction to Apologetics takes a classical approach to defending the Christian faith. This course explores a biblical worldview, addresses difficult topics, and examines the beliefs of other world religions. Click HERE to watch the GU 304 promotional video.
400 Level Courses
GU 401: OT Poetical Books is a walk through the poetical books of the Old Testament. This course explores Hebrew Poetry through the books of Job, Psalms, Song of Solomon, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.
GU 402: NT Pauline Books is a walk through the New Testament books written by the Apostle Paul. There are thirteen letters by the Apostle Paul that are included in the canon of Scripture (i.e. Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon).
GU 403: Missiology is a systematic approach to understanding the theological subject of missions. This course is an in-depth study of the biblical, historical, cultural, and strategics perspectives regarding the missionary expansion of Christianity.
GU 404: Eschatology is a systematic approach to understanding the theological subject of end times. This course is an in-depth study of the consummation of God's redemptive plan and the prophetic events as foretold in Scripture.
500 Level Courses (Seminar and Course Electives)
GU: 501: Understanding Your Teenager (Parenting Seminar) is a two-hour seminar that explores the changes in teen culture, the essential needs of teenagers, and key principles for effective parenting from the pre-teen through late adolescence years. No workbook to purchase. A free handbook will be provided at the seminar.
GU 502: Understanding Family Core Values (Parenting Seminar) is a two-hour seminar that explores the decline of family values and how to identify and instill core values in your family. No workbook to purchase. A free handbook will be provided at the seminar.
GU 503: The Stewardship Challenge (Financial Study) is a self-guided Bible study that helps you understand biblical stewardship through tithing and honoring God through all He has entrusted to you. No workbook to purchase. All resources for this course are free and are available at www.chrisdortch.com.
GU 504: Financial Peace University (Financial Course) is a nine-part course that will teach you the basics of financial management. You will learn how to save an emergency fund, get out of debt, save for retirement, pay off the mortgage, build wealth, and give generously. There is a fee associated with this course that covers all materials. $$
600 Level Courses (On-Location Electives)
GU 601: Israel. A tour of the Holy Land with guided on-location teaching. Join Pastor Chris and others as you visit the Holy Land and see the Bible come alive as you walk the very places you've read in Scriptures. Total cost for the trip will be published when the tour is scheduled. $$$$
GU 602: Ark Encounter. An overnight road trip to Williamstown, Kentucky to visit the Ark Encounter replica of Noah's Ark. Pastor Chris will lead a Bible Study before the tour and lead a Q&A after the tour to give you an opportunity to ask questions and share your observations. Total cost for the trip will be published when the tour is scheduled. $$$