What a great Sunday we had last week as we continued exploring the grand narrative of scripture in “The Space Between” and welcomed a new family into our community at the 9:30 service! It’s always a thrill when an individual or a family is willing to stand up in front of the church and make a commitment about following Jesus with us. It doesn’t matter what your background is – lifelong Christian or new to the faith – it takes genuine courage to answer the questions and make the vows of membership within a new church. I’ve always told guests that those vows (prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness to the work of God through this church) may seem simple, but they have a way of encompassing the whole life of a disciple. The vows of membership outline for us nothing short of what it means to follow Jesus within this body of Christ. In spite of their simplicity, they are profoundly meaningful!
That’s why I love the response that we make as a church when someone joins. Just as that individual or family makes a public commitment, we also “renew our covenant faithfully to participate in the ministries of the church by our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.” Part of our response is a recognition that following Jesus is a communal pursuit; it’s something we do together. Before we even know each other, we’re committing to pray together, show up together, give together, serve together and bear witness together. This is how community works – we follow Jesus with one another!
Our collective response is also a personal recommitment to a life of discipleship; we commit both communally AND individually. Sometimes we Methodists forget that we, too, can recommit our lives to Christ. Celebrating a new family within our community provides exactly that kind of opportunity!
If you were at the 9:30 service, you may have heard me say something to the effect that this family isn’t just joining an institution; they’re joining a community of people who are all trying to figure out what it means to follow Jesus in Peachtree City (and surrounding areas!) in 2022. What a joy to welcome new brothers and sisters on the journey! What a great Sunday! I can’t wait for another just like it!