Dr. James Fleming
GUMC hosts its third annual Faith Seeking Understanding series April 27-29 with keynote speaker Dr. James Fleming, one of the best-known teachers of Biblical Archaeology. Dr. Fleming brings his scholarship to GUMC in the form of a weekend experience entitled “Barriers to Growth and Unity in the Early Church.”
Dr. Jim Fleming is one of the most respected teachers and lecturers on archaeology and Biblical studies in the world,” said Rev. Tim Carpenter, Senior Pastor at GUMC. “He brings an incredible passion for archaeology, geography, culture, and scriptures and weaves them together in ways which illuminate the gospel and help apply it for today. “Barriers to Growth and Unity in the Early Church” is a fascinating study of challenges faced by the New Testament church that seems remarkably contemporary. I have been blessed many times by Jim Fleming’s teaching, and look forward with anticipation to his return visit with us. I highly recommend experiencing Dr. Jim Fleming’s teaching as he has had a tremendous impact on my life and ministry.”
Dr. Fleming uniquely ties his lectures on historical geography with Biblical text including an emphasis on the theological implications. Listeners embark on a journey to the ancient lands of the Bible, learning of new discoveries of ancient manuscripts that will significantly add to their understanding. He makes extensive use of slides showing geography, culture, and archaeological discoveries in Biblical lands.
Dr. Fleming currently serves as the Director of Biblical Resources Study Center, an ecumenical organization that produces audio-visual aids for teaching Bible history, geography, archaeology, and theology. For 37 years he lived in Israel, where he founded and directed the World of the Bible Archaeological Museum and Pilgrim Center in Jerusalem. In 2006, he established the Biblical History Center in LaGrange, Georgia. The Center features interactive exhibits of daily life in the Biblical world and serves authentic Palestinian-style Last Supper/Passover meals.
Faith Seeking Understanding kicks off on Friday night with dinner (Reservations are required for dinner; the cost is $11) and a lecture. Two lectures take place on Saturday followed by a discussion. Dr. Fleming closes the weekend with a Sunday lecture at 9:40 or 11:00 a.m. in the Mike Wilson Fellowship Hall. All of the lectures are free and open to the public. Free childcare for preschoolers is available for all lectures and a “Pizza and Movie Night” is available on Friday night for elementary children. Advanced reservations are required for childcare and there is a $3.00/child charge for pizza. To make a reservation for the Friday night dinner or to register for childcare, please click here.
A complete schedule of events is as follows:
Friday, April 27
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Dinner in Fellowship Hall – cost $11
7:15 – 8:30 p.m. Lecture in Sanctuary: “The Class/Language Barrier”
Saturday, April 28
8:30 – 9:00 a.m Coffee and Doughnuts in the Fellowship Hall
9:00 – 10:15 a.m. Lecture in Fellowship Hall: “The Prejudice Barrier”
10:30 – 12:00 noon Lecture in Fellowship Hall: “The Reinterpreting Barrier”
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Talk/Discussion in Fellowship Hall: “Middle Eastern Issues and the Biblical History Center Experience”
Sunday, April 29
9:40 – 10:40 a.m. Lecture in Fellowship Hall: “Breaking Through Secular Barriers”
11:00 – 12:00 noon Lecture in Fellowship Hall: “Breaking Through Secular Barriers”
About the Series
In 2016, GUMC launched a weekend event series entitled Faith Seeking Understanding. The series, which has become an annual event, will feature noted religious scholars, preachers, musicians and others who can inspire and challenge the congregation and community beyond our current routines and comfort zones.
The series originated from the findings of GUMC’s Visioning Committee. In 2013, GUMC commissioned a visioning team to seek and discern God’s call for the church through prayerful discussion with the congregation, church leaders, and the greater community. The committee conducted a survey and a series of focus groups to identify key areas of emphasis that require the attention of the church. After reviewing and analyzing the survey results, comments and focus group discussions, “spiritual formation and personal development” emerged as one of the five main focus areas.
The biblical foundation of the “spiritual formation and personal development” focus area comes from 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” From this inspirational foundation, a spiritual formation and personal development committee formed to address the specific needs and goals of the focus area.
According to Susan Smith, chair of the Visioning Committee, one of the guiding principles for the spiritual formation and personal development committee was to develop and host regular spiritual renewal events, rallies, and retreats. The committee believes periodic renewal enhances our spiritual lives, just like it does our minds and bodies.
The committee was also charged with developing and hosting a periodic, ongoing speaker series, geared toward GUMC members and the community at large that would focus on how to interpret and apply biblical teachings to current events that shape our lives and the world in which we live.
The Faith Seeking Understanding series seeks to accomplish both of these goals. The committee believes these guiding steps, when fully fleshed out with appropriate changes, actions, and programs, will put GUMC on a path toward greater spiritual discipline and growth.
The series is modeled after GUMC’s Mary Emma Colebank Speaker Series that previously brought in a nationally known scholar/professor for a lecture and learn weekend. With the Colebank series, the spiritual emphasis was similar to a revival where the preacher would speak in Sunday morning worship and then during Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evening worship services. With the Faith Seeking Understanding series, the current plan is to host a speaker with several events taking place over a weekend.