Adult Education Opportunities
There’s something for everyone interested in spiritual growth!
We offer a variety of opportunities for adults to grow in faith through challenging and thought-provoking classes. Some classes are offered on Sundays, and some during the week. We try to offer a diverse programming to accommodate the varied spiritual needs of our parishioners including a contemplative prayer group, a Bible study, and topical courses.
Thursday Morning Bible Fellowship
Thursdays @ 10:30 am
This Bible study has been meeting for over thirty years, and is always welcoming new people! Rich discussion about the Bible is the hallmark of this gathering. Once a month we enjoy lunch together and celebrate each others’ birthdays. There’s always more to learn about the Bible, so come discover more about Jesus - who He is - and why He came. Sign up here.
Man’s Search for God
Ended after its’ thrid year.
Man’s Search for God seeks to explore the scientific evidence for the existence of God and answer the important questions that arise by implication… join us as we consider the latest scientific evidence in cosmology, biology, and archeology. The series presents objective information designed to stimulate your curiosity and support new spiritual insights, as well as further your personal growth. The material is highly engaging, informative, non-argumentative, intellectually stimulating and spiritually fulfilling.
This fascinating program was presented in a series of videos in our comfortable high definition theater. Joe Creegan, Education Director, and Rick Frye our Facility Manager.. The sessions were 1 .5 hours with time at the end for lively discussion. There is no charge. Everyone is invited. Reservations are helpful to provide adequate seating and plan for food and beverage. Call the church at 727-446-0430 or sign up here.
Here’s what some participants had to say about the program:
As Christians, we are meant to interact with other people. It’s only natural that each of us has a unique relationship with God, and that we relate differently to each other and have different needs. Moreover, each of us is a unique human being with special gifts and talents that enable us to serve God in our own special way -- as and when we are able.
One of the most awesome characteristics of Chapel-By-The-Sea is that it has such a diverse congregation from the standpoint of Christian backgrounds, culture, customs, experience, creativity, education, and perspectives. Each tourist season, our church swells as people from all over the world are drawn to our tropical location and the sea. During off-season, our lovely church “carries on” with the help of its year-round membership, locals, and our community. To me, it is a reflection of God’s love.
From many people’s perspective, perhaps the most appealing attributes of our church include our beautiful place of worship by the sea, our inspiring, innovative and engaging pastor, our amazing and talented choir, our youth education, our Southern hospitality, our gentle and loving approach to differences, and our unyielding and contagious passion for Christian fellowship and service.
Yet, for me and many others, what also distinguishes our church – and the reason I have made it my spiritual home -- is that Chapel-By-The-Sea is blessed with some of the most amazing Christian, adult-education programs available. Our vibrant little church is blessed with a rich tapestry of talented educators who selflessly work in concert with diverse resources that appeal to a diverse and empowering Christian community. These educators, who include Pastor Blevins and Joe Creegan, facilitate adult education programs designed to help members and non-members explore, challenge, and/or strengthen the foundations and implications of their faith; to reinforce or augment understanding of the Old and New Testaments; to engage in Scripture and apply it to cultural challenges and societal beliefs; and to explore in a safe environment the underpinnings of Christianity. To matters little whether program participants possess great spiritual strength, are unfamiliar with Christian beliefs, or troubled by spiritual doubt, because everyone is welcome and respected. In the context of adult education at our church, believers and non-believers are afforded an opportunity to come together for reasons known only to each individual heart. Perhaps only in this context, participants possess the freedom -- without judgment – to unapologetically express to other believers frustration with Scripture ambiguity; to identify or challenge in a safe and constructive setting potential misunderstandings about their faith; to build upon or make more intimate their relationship with God and Jesus with the help of others; or, to simply facilitate Christian fellowship or satisfy an undefined but persistent curiosity about God or Jesus.
For me, personally, the Adult Education Programs at our church, have been the answer to my prayers. As is the case in any diverse community, not all programs meet my current need, but I never expected them to. Nor do I always relate to – or accept – ideas or explanations that are explored. But that too is neither good nor bad for I am only one of many and not the only one to be served. Overall, I have found peace and have grown closer to God and Jesus because of each of the programs I have attended. I have delighted in being able to explore with other believers – and some non-believers – the Scripture and what that means for me. At all times, the ensuing conversations have been enlightening and respectful. Many times, the ideas and conclusions I have reached have been life-changing. At no time was there ever any judgment or recrimination by others (even when we may have reached different conclusions or held fast to different beliefs) -- only positive encouragement to listen to my heart, pray to God, and respect for the direction my heart takes me.
Some might say that some of the programs offered by our church’s Adult Education Programs are too liberal or progressive. Others might say that some of the programs are too conservative or fundamental. Still others may say they are “too middle of the road”, too simple, too in-depth, too tolerant, or too judgmental. Our programs are large and small, with no two appealing to all audiences as far as I can tell. Some are said to pose too many questions. Others are said to provide too many answers. From what I have experienced, no two programs, no two leaders, are exactly the same – even though they may be repeated. But that only makes me smile and endears me to our Adult Education Program even more. For why should anyone expect them to be the same – or for each to appeal to everyone?
Our Chapel-By-The-Sea may be relatively small, but it has a big calling. Its members and the people drawn to it are all so diverse, we’re all seeking something different, and we all reflect different stages in our lives and our faith. In the end, I suspect we all find something different in our programs, yet surprisingly maybe not as different as we might think. In the end, I believe that all our programs appeal to the spiritual best in some of us -- facilitating the best versions of ourselves we can be and celebrating our relationship with God and Jesus. We have only prayer and trust in our God to lead us to what we need to hear.
If only one soul reconnects or strengthens his or her relationship with God and Jesus as a result of one of the church’s programs, that seems to be enough justification for the church to offer it. And for that I am truly grateful, for I am one such soul. The Adult Education Program distinguishes our church from so many others. Our church’s willingness to sponsor programs attended by even a few, in addition to those attended by many, beautifully and uniquely reflects the breadth, approaches, and diversity inherent in God’s Holy Spirit.
“Now God gives us many kinds of special abilities, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service to God, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are many ways in which God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work in and through all of us who are his. The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
Thank you, Chapel-By-The-Sea, for having the courage, wisdom, and inspiration to offer the Adult Education programs that you do. I would be lost without them.