First Principles

First Principles

Over the past two years, a diverse group of faithful Lake Valley men have met at 6:00 am once a week to dive into the First Principles of the Faith. The First Principles series is a set of 13, six-session dialogue-based Bible study guides for use by church leaders and mature Christians to establish believers and churches in the faith. The First Principles series was written by Jeff Reed, President and CEO of BILD International. The study is based on his decades of experience training leaders worldwide in the context of local churches, in the “way of Christ and His Apostles.”

Joe Almond, Phil Ellis, Mike Fischer, Dan Hodges, Larry Nieman, and Frank Warren completed the study on the last Wednesday of August. Leaders of the study were Alvin Black, Shane Carson, Steve Freeman, and Donald Westerman. Each of the four leaders had previously completed the series under the guidance of other faithful Lake Valley men.

The First Principles series is a sequential examination of the critical issues of life. Each issue requires a close look at scriptures, a consultation with scholars, a period of thinking through the issues, and then an application of the learned principles to life. The desired outcome of this deep dive into critical issues is that we grow as disciples of Jesus.

As this group of men began to read and dig into the Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s letters together, the group moved from students, to acquaintances, to friends, to a brotherhood of God’s sons. We shared questions, celebrations, doubts, fears, joys, hurts, griefs, and breakfast frequently. Toward the end of the First Principles series, there was seldom a meeting that the joy of community was not mentioned and celebrated as a gift of divine providence.

The First Principles series is designed as a tool to establish believers in their faith in the context of the local church (a household of God) and then, turn their attention from the household of God to individual households (the family). Over the course of the study, participants grew from reading and applying passages from the New Testament to developing a clear process of accurately interpreting these books. This series is based on the foundational belief that a prerequisite to discipleship is kerygma (the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ), and will lead to being able to “present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).


Left side: Shane Carson, Donald Westerman, Phil Ellis, Larry Nieman, Alvin Black
Right side: Dan Hodges, Joe Almond, Steve Freeman, Frank Warren, Mike Fischer