Living Our Promise
The people of The United Methodist Church®.”
Through its television campaign, the United Methodist Church is promising seekers that it is a denomination of open hearts, open minds and open doors.
We recognize that not all United Methodist congregations equally open their hearts, minds and doors to welcome people. The call to live out this promise is a worthy goal, set high. And the achievement of “Open Hearts” is subjectively measured. The test of when a church truly lives the promise is perhaps best judged by those it serves.
ACTING AS IF …
Congregations do not suddenly obtain open hearts, minds and doors. It can be understood as a process of “acting as if…” We teach this principle, grounded in the life of John Wesley, in Igniting Ministry welcoming training.
Three days before his Aldersgate experience, Wesley attended a special healing service, It was a time of a personal faith crisis. Peter Böhler, an important spiritual influence and friend of Wesley, said to him: “Preach faith until you have it. And then because you have it, you will preach faith.”
Wesley used these words in other instances in his journals, perhaps as a reminder to himself when he felt the ebbs and flows of faith, to “act as if” he had the faith he was preaching.
“LIVING OUR PROMISE” GENESIS
The promise of “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” from the people of The United Methodist Church is being adopted and lived out in our almost 36,000 congregations in the United States. It was created by Igniting Ministry at United Methodist Communications as part of the denomination’s first media campaign.
This promise was developed after analysis of The United Methodist Church’s theological history, as expressed in various sections of The Book of Discipline. Extensive research helped identify genuine expressions of yearning by people seeking spiritual renewal and connection within an affirming community.
Our open hearts are evident not only in our shared theology but also in our service to the world; our open minds focus on servanthood; and our open doors allow for a variety of understandings within a single faith community.
The “Living Our Promise” downloadable PDF (click here) offers additional information about this promise and its development, target audience, message environment, Wesleyan heritage, how it addresses inclusiveness and its role in service to the world.
AN AFFIRMING COMMUNITY
The promise of “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” is not limited to any one issue, but analogous of the whole United Methodist denomination. Research has shown that the people of The United Methodist Church present an affirming community to seekers by:
— demonstrating a caring heart for those in need;
— embracing an open-mindedness that requires no attachment to a mandatory creed; and
— opening doors to people with diverse opinions, cultural traditions, and ethnic backgrounds and beliefs.
TRANSFORMING, INWARD & OUTWARD
Finally, the campaign is evolving, and is the most complex and extensive effort of its kind by a religious denomination in recent memory. It is a courageous step by The United Methodist Church to engage with persons in the electronic culture in a sensitive and constructive way. It entails risk — the risk that we will not communicate effectively enough, or that we will not embody community in a way that incorporates seekers into our midst.
But it is a risk worth taking, carefully, prayerfully and with sensitivity to the presence of God in the culture, calling us to speak words of comfort, healing and new life. Living the promise together can rekindle our own understanding of ourselves as a faith community and reinvigorate our compassionate concern for all God’s children.
Contact UsIgniting Ministry
810 12th Avenue South – Nashville, TN 37203-4744 – P.O. Box 320, Nashville, TN 37202-0320
Phone: 877-281-6535 | Fax: 615-742-5777 | firstname.lastname@example.org