All are welcome to participate in the life and ministries of First United Methodist Church. Our congregation seeks to help you find your place as part of our church family and we encourage you to reach out to our staff with any questions you may have about our church or the United Methodist Church.
Membership is not required to “belong” to our fellowship, but we offer you the possibility of making your relationship more formal by becoming a member. If you have an interest in taking that step, it may help for you to know what is expected of our members. Most of those who make the decision to become Members of the church have already been practicing the vows by the time they join, and most people know it’s time to join us when they realize FUMC has become “their church.”
Those who wish to join our congregation are asked to take the “Vows of Membership” and commit to five consistent practices. Each of the five vows corresponds to how we cultivate the use of a specific resource that God has given to each of us.
- Prayers: The practice of Prayer is how we cultivate the resource of our Spiritual Lives. A consistent practice of prayer, both individual and in groups, allows us to deepen our relationship with God and develop a life that more clearly demonstrates that Jesus Christ is alive in the world. Prayer is not only the specific act of speaking to and listening to God, it is a way of life. Prayer becomes action seeking to shape the world to more closely resemble the coming Kingdom of Heaven.
- Presence: The practice of Presence is how we cultivate the resource of our Time. It begins with a commitment to presence in corporate worship. Making our presence in worship the highest priority of our time begins to shape the way that we utilize our time throughout the week. We recognize that in today’s world, competing interests want to encroach on our commitment to Sunday morning worship. For some people, being present in worship may be virtually impossible due to health concerns or work schedule, so we simply ask people to make the commitment, “If I have a choice between being in worship and other things, I will chose to be in worship and schedule other things around worship.” It is our congregation’s commitment to enable those who cannot join us on Sunday morning to be able to “join us” in other ways: by bringing Communion to the homebound, regularly attending to them, and offering online opportunities to participate, as well as worship and community at alternate times.
- Giving: The practice of Giving is how we cultivate the resource of our Material Possessions. Most of us are well aware of how materialistic our world has become and FUMC seeks to be a place in which people find refuge from the demands of our culture. Though there is only one universally accepted standard of giving in Christian Tradition–the “tithe,” a ten percent share–the consistent practice of giving is more important than the amount of the gift. We ask our members to make a commitment to regular giving “without strings attached,” then to watch for additional opportunities for generosity by supporting special causes. At FUMC, we strive to create financial systems that members and guests can trust to utilize their giving with integrity.
- Service: The practice of Service is how we cultivate the use of our Gifts and Talents. Everyone–EVERYone–is gifted by our Creator with certain Spiritual Gifts, as well as abilities and talents that either come naturally to us or we develop over the course of our lives. Serving the church and the community with those gifts and abilities allows us to express our gratitude to God for granting them to us and helps us realize they have been entrusted to us for a purpose greater than self-fulfillment.
- Witness: The practice of Witness is how we cultivate the resource of our Story. Every one of us has a story to tell. Some of us may be more naturally gifted at sharing the story of how God has been at work in our lives, we recognize that everyone’s story is significant. Our willingness to share those stories when the time is right can make a huge impact on how people around us perceive the work of God’s grace in their own lives. We also recognize that our story must be authentic–it must be reaffirmed in the way we live if it is to be believable. We may actually do more harm than good by telling an inauthentic story, one that may appear to be hypocritical. It may be best to consider some ancient advice: “Preach the gospel always and, if necessary, use words.”
Each Sunday in worship, we offer an “Invitation to Discipleship,” in which the Pastor offers the opportunity to come forward and commit to following the way of Jesus Christ. Those who feel the urging of the Holy Spirit to come forward may simply profess their faith in Jesus Christ or ask to be accepted as members in the church. Typically, those who seek membership may be asked to profess their faith and to meet with the pastor before formally joining.
If you would like to discuss membership or participation in the church, please contact our Pastor, Rev. John Fleming, to arrange a time to meet.