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McCoy: Back to school
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Make an effort to present yourself to God as a tried-and-true worker, who doesn't need to be ashamed but is one who interprets the message of truth correctly.

2 Timothy 2:15
(Common English Bible)

It's back-to-school time. Where did the summer go? In the last couple of weeks, we've seen yellow buses coming through neighborhoods, and we've said goodbye to those young high school graduates who are becoming college freshmen. We've watched as one by one, our children and their friends have returned to school. Even some of our adult friends have started school as they work toward higher education and better pay through graduate degrees.

So, what about us? What about the rest of us who are not involved in formal education and who are not going to get higher degrees? What do we do?

While August and the beginning of fall trigger end-of-play time for those in school, it is also a time for the rest of us to continue to learn. As we start our fall series of studies in church, let us go in with an attitude of studying hard, of learning and of becoming more like Jesus.

The Apostle Paul wrote letters to his friend whom he considered a "student" in the ministry. In these letters to young Timothy, Paul shares wisdom and practical advice about ministry. Since we are all considered workers (another word for ministers) in one way or another as we walk this Christian walk, let us take note of these words and what we can learn from them as well. We have to make an effort to learn, to grow in faith and in love so that we will not need to be ashamed of our faith. When we make an effort to study God's word, we will be better able to interpret it correctly.

So how do we learn to interpret the message of truth correctly? By studying the Bible, by praying and asking for guidance from the Holy Spirit, by learning to trust God instead of being distracted (known as fasting), and by meeting together with other Christians for times of growth and fellowship (sharing in the community of faith). It is during these times of learning that we grow in our faith and that we become well-grounded in what we believe.
Are you having trouble getting started? In our faith community, we offer Alpha Classes, a great place to start. Alpha provides a safe space to ask questions, explore answers and learn about God. So even if you are not on a faith journey, don't just sit there, do something about it. Go back to school.

How are you learning and growing in your faith every day?

Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at