THE MEANING OF MEMBERSHIP
At Avondale UMC membership is not a destination or a status; it’s a journey of following Jesus as his servant. The best way to start your journey is to get connected in worship, small groups, and service areas. Formal membership is a way of saying you’re committed to the journey of faith.
All members of Christ’s universal church are called to a life-long process of deepening their connection with God through faith and understanding. They are also called to share in the ministry that Jesus entrusts to his church, becoming servants of Christ in the local and worldwide community. This service is performed in family life, daily work, recreation and social activities, responsible citizenship, the stewardship of resources, and in loving charity toward others.
We believe that a local congregation of Christians provides the most significant arena through which these dynamics of growing in and serving in faith are lived out. Together, we the church become the sign, foretaste, instrument, and witness of the renewal, transformation, and life God envisions for all people.
Each disciple who joins a United Methodist congregation promises to participate faithfully in its ministries by their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. We have tried to put "skin" on that promise, to help each of our members, regardless of where they are on the journey of discipleship, to see what that might look like in their lives. We believe that the following practices are important common disciplines that all of our members can embody toward the fulfillment of their vow, regardless of where they are on their journey of discipleship:
- To worship regularly;
- To continue to grow in your faith by participating in a small group for learning and growth;
- To serve God with your hands through volunteering your time in the congregation, the community, and the world; and
- To give in proportion to your income with a tithe being the goal
To help you develop an understanding of these practices and how they can be lived out through Avondale UMC, we invite you to participate in a Starting Point class, a three-week class offered in the spring and the fall designed to help you get acquainted with Avondale and its mission and discover how you fit into ministry here.
JOINING AVONDALE UMC: REQUIREMENTS AND PROCESS
Avondale welcomes into membership all who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior and are ready to publicly commit to support the mission and vision of our church through their prayers, their presence, their gifts, their service, and their witness. The following steps can guide you in making this commitment:
- Attend worship regularly for six months;
- Get involved in a small group or Sunday school class;
- Get involved in a regular service opportunity;
- Use the "I Will" five-week devotional resource to explore the biblical foundation of the five-fold vows of membership; and
- Participate in our Starting Point orientation class and let the pastor know you're ready to make the commitment of membership.
Baptism is the sacrament or ritual through which we are initiated into the universal church. It is an outward and visible sign of God’s act of incorporating us into his salvation and giving us new birth through water and the Spirit. You must be baptized to become a member of Avondale. If you were baptized in another church as either an adult or child it is not necessary to be baptized at Avondale before becoming a member. Avondale recognizes baptisms from other churches and denominations regardless of the age at which you were baptized.
RESOURCES FOR DISCERNMENT AND EXPLORATION
"I WILL" DEVOTIONAL GUIDE
This is a five-week journey through the biblical foundations behind our five-fold vows of membership, "As a member of Avondale UMC I will faithfully participate in its ministries by my prayers, my presence, my gifts, my service, and my witness." This resources contains daily readings, prayers, and suggested activities to help you explore your commitment and discern how God is calling you to be a part of our church.
GIVING GUIDE AND ESTIMATE OF GIVING CARD
The giving guide is updated annually and includes the latest information on how you can support Avondale UMC by your gifts. Use the estimate of giving card to make your financial commitment to the work of ministry. Because we believe being good stewards of our finances is such an important part of growing in grace, we celebrate those who return their estimate of giving for the first time with a special gift, a New Interpreter's Study Bible, which will help you grow in other areas of your faith journey as well.
EXPLORE UNITED METHODIST DOCTRINE AND BELIEFS
United Methodists share basic affirmations in common with all Christian communities, including faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But, we also emphasize the abundance of God's grace, which has always been a part of God's relationship with us. Explore the diversity and uniqueness of our Wesleyan/Methodist heritage at the United Methodist Church website.