Every Fall, we—and a lot of churches in our tradition—do some sort of ‘membership’ reminder as well as a membership drive. This year (2018), I decided to wrap it all up in one five-week sermon series that would culminate with “Renewal Sunday”—a time of re-commitment, a time to respond to the Gospel, a time to renew one’s walk of faith.
We’re part of that great Wesleyan family called the United Methodist Church, and on page 48 of the United Methodist Hymnal (page 28 of Mil Voces para Celebrar), we find the membership vows that new members commit to as they come into our tradition and into our local congregation:
Leader/Pastor: Will you be loyal to the United Methodist Church, and uphold it by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, and your service?
New Member: I will.
Many life-long Methodists may recognize these same vows by the more easily remembered “prayers, presence, tithes, and talents.”
The ‘trick’ is keeping this all fresh and new and accessible year after year, is helping those who have heard these ideas too many times to hear with new ears. The following five meditations (taken from my studies and sermon notes) may help you as you strive to keep things fresh for your congregation...or even as you strive to find renewal of your own spiritual life within the community of faith.
Living in God’s Grace,
Jon A Herrin
A Church Strong: Remembering our Vows