Summary: Today is Celebration Sunday for the year 2007 here at Bridgewater United Methodist Church. This fall we’ve been talking about and studying guidelines to living a more abundant life.
Review of guidelines to an abundant life:
• I must tithe all that I receive to the person, place, or institution where I receive my spiritual food.
• I must set clear-cut, tangible goals.
• I must forgive everyone all the time, including myself.
• I must seek, discover, and follow my divine purpose.
A—THE MEANING OF CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
• I want to become involved.
• I want to make a difference in my life and the lives of others.
• I want to invest in my own spiritual growth and the growth of others in the church.
• I want to be a part of a unique opportunity to take an active part in building up the congregation to make known the good news of Jesus Christ to a hurting world.
• I want my membership to be about responsibilities and expectations, not privileges and benefits.
A good metaphor for becoming a church member is this—it’s like the difference between owning and renting a house. When you own your own home you are taking responsibility for its upkeep and its expansion.
Adam Hamilton, pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in the Kansas City area explains it in this way. He tells people who are interested in joining the church: Church membership is not required in order to participate in the life of our church. You are welcome to visit for as long as you like. But unlike the American Express Card, membership in our church has few privileges, and many more expectations.
And so it is here at BUMC. For members and non-members alike, we promise to visit you in the hospital, You may participate in any of our programs as a visitor. But membership comes with responsibilities and expectations. When you join this church we will call upon you from time to time to ask for your help. Membership, like marriage, is a sign of commitment.
B--HOW DO I BRING ABOUT CONSTRUCTIVE CHANGE IN ANY AREA OF LIFE, INCLUDING THE CHURCH, WITHOUT COMPLAINING?
• Reframe the situation.
• Simply state the facts
• Ask for information first.
• Be the change that I want to see.
A new look at the traditional United Methodist church membership vows to “support the church with your prayers, presence, gifts, and service.”
• Will you attend worship every Sunday unless you are sick or out of town. I WILL!
• Will you participate in at least one activity each year aimed at helping you grow in your faith apart from worship attendance (Sunday school, Bible study, reading the Bible at home, retreats or other short- term classes we offer). I WILL!
• Will you give of your time in Christian service at least once each year through the ministry of the church. I WILL!
• Will you give financially in some specified amount from your income on a consistent basis with the goal of tithing, if you are not already tithing. I WILL!
“Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. ….. I came that [you] may have life, and have it abundantly. … I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:5-15
“….for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12.32