Signed in as:
The Baptism of Jesus ((Matthew 3:13–17; Mark 1:9–11; Luke 3:21–23) is celebrated every second Sunday of January in the Church Year.
It's a great opportunity to offer the
of the Baptismal Covenant"
(Easter is another great time to offer this but in January it can be expanded into a full service.)
Each participant gets an opportunity to come forward at the end of the service and either keel at the rail or stand by the Baptismal font.
When they are ready, they receive a cross placed on their foreheads with a moistened finger/thumb by the leaders with the words:
"Remember that you are Forgiven
You are a Citizen of Heaven.
Thanks be to God."
See Sample bulletin Insert
Other resources for your use:
Book of Worship: Orders of Service https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/book-of-worship/the-baptismal-covenant-i
e-Book on the Meaning of Baptism
FAQ's on UMC Baptism & Salvation:
January is a great time to have a Sermon series or Workshop on Prayer. There is usually 3 or 4 Sundays that can cover many aspects of prayer.
It's a time when people are thinking about changes they want to make in their lives.
The church family can offer ways to make those changes solid.
According to the University of Scranton, just 8% succeed in their New Year’s goals and 80% FAIL.
• Have a Saturday Worship and/or Retreat on Prayer and other Spiritual Disciplines. (Coordinate with UMW "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.")
• Prayer Sermon Series topics might include:
-The Why, How and Consequences
of Regular Prayer
-The Lord's Prayer: Don't Rush it!
-How to do the Contemplative/
Centering Prayer of Quietness
-The "Great Prayer of Jesus"
John Gospel 17:1-26
-Various Prayers in the bible
-Prayer Disciplines: Lectio Divina, etc.
-Can Prayer Change Things?
........Prayer Changes Me!
-Healing Prayers in the Bible
& Prayer Groups
• Offer a traditional "Watch Night" Prayer Service on New Year's Eve. (see https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/watch-night-vespers-and-vigil ) A Great place to introduce the Music of Taizé!
Give your Christmas crowd a reason to come back after January 1. Provide January activities for singles, young adults and families.
• "Low threshold" Fellowship Times. Lonliness is an epidemic. Provide a way for people to meet new friends: Post-Holiday Pot-luck, “Mixer” dessert, Free Film Night, Family Game night, Pizza-Creation Dinner“, Free Starbucks Coffee Mixer” nite, A Day of Service for M.L.K. B-Day, or .....?
• Celebrate Epiphany (Jan 6) with a Sunday Focus on the Gifts of the Magi and a "Magi Fellowship Dinner" - a Celebration of Epiphany with a mixer dinner designed for people to get to know each other. (Mexican tradition has a small baby Jesus in a "Kings Cake." The one who finds him is especially recognized.)
• Start Classes early inJanuary and publicize them all December.
Possible class topics might be:
-Targeted Bible Subjects,
-Intro to the New/Old Testament,
-Help with Relationships,
-Current Social & Justice Issues,
-Financial Planning as the Christian
-Ethical Challenges in our World
• Have a "Messy New Year's Eve" Party for families with small children. Can be held after Jan. 1st as a "New Year Party!"
• Do a "Blessing of the Toys" Sunday right after Christmas. Have the kids bring their favorite "loving" toy. (No guns or "bad guy" stuff.)
• Organize a "The Church has Left the Building" Sunday of Service in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday observance, Jan. 20.
• Send a strong team of people to the District Leadership Workshops usually scheduled in January.
Looking for ideas for a more Spiritual Advent/Christmas Season?
Here are some easy ways to challenge and deepen the faith of your congregation.
...AND thoughts on planning a "Pre-Advent" time next year.