Hi, I am Ray Bennett. Thank you for letting me serve as discipleship director of Oakland Baptist Church. Working with Pastor Mike, we have developed some exciting challenges to help each of us grow in our spiritual maturity. Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” While we all only increase to a certain “stature” i.e., height, we can always increase in favor with God and others. No matter where you are in your Christian life, we all need to grow and develop in our relationship with God and in our relationships with others. But How?
“Together in the Next Step” is our discipleship challenge to begin this year. We are told to read the Bible, but we don’t know where to begin. We are told to pray, but we don’t know how. So, Pastor Mike and your leaders have put together 16+ challenges to help us take the next step. They fall into five areas: Mentorship (being accountable to fellow believers), Scripture (devotion and study of the Word), Hiding the Word (Memorization), Prayer (talking to God), and Worship (Praising God privately and publicly). We plan to get “Together in the Next Step” challenges out to you the first of February. We encourage you to choose one, two, or more challenges to add to your life this year. But. . . .
The first word in the challenge is “Together”. Our theme for 2019 is “We Can Do Much Together.” This is true in discipleship as in all things; therefore, “Together in the Next Step” includes a commitment page. After God has led you to the challenges you are to participate in, Sign the commitment page and give it to a brother or sister in Christ, to your  Sunday School teacher, to someone who has completed the “Blue Book,” to me or to Pastor Mike. Let us take the next step together.                                            
Ray Bennett