Following are paragraphs from The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church – 2008 pertaining to membership. On Sunday, January 8, many United Methodist congregations will read and hear the gospel account of Jesus’ baptism by John. I pray that many congregations will re-affirm the Baptismal Covenant (see The United Methodist Hymnal, Baptismal Covenant IV on pages 50-52).
Church membership is established in the Baptismal Covenant. This is reflected in the paragraphs that follow. Membership is shaped Christian discipleship which requires intentional support and accountability for following and serving with Jesus Christ in the world.
What is striking to me is that in every United Methodist congregation in my experience membership is much more akin to a voluntary association in which people expect to be served rather than to serve with Christ. I have yet to find a congregation that is intentionally living as a community of discipleship…
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