January 2 – Epiphany of The Lord (Jan. 6)/World Service Fund (Discipleship Ministries)


A Moment for Mission

“In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, … so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.” — Ephesians 1:11-12, NRSV

Do you ever wonder how your congregation’s support of the World Service Fund benefits your local church? One way is through Discipleship Ministries. A quick visit to the website will reveal preaching notes, liturgical resources, hymn suggestions, offertory prayers, small-group ideas, children’s messages, youth lessons and graphics for worship planning.

Asked about helps for the first quarter of 2022, the Rev. Derek C. Weber, director of preaching ministries, said the Christmas series concludes on Jan. 2. “Many will observe Epiphany on that date,” he noted.

“We suggest moving Epiphany to Jan 9,” he continued, “and launched our Epiphany series, ‘Love Never Ends’ on that Sunday. The theme is an attempt to help us live each day bearing the light of Christ in our lives.”

March 2 is Ash Wednesday. In the Lenten series, “Gathered Up in Jesus,” Weber said, “we follow the Gospel lection in Luke and see what it means to accompany Jesus on his journey to the cross.”

Pastors and worship teams use the weekly planning resources in different ways. “From the questions and comments that we receive,” Weber said, “we know they are reaching many worship planners on a weekly basis.”

With a goal of equipping world-changing disciples, Discipleship Ministries produces written and audiovisual resources to support the work of people and congregations and provides training, education and skills-development seminars and workshops. That’s your World Service gifts at work!

Children’s Message
What is your favorite part of Sunday school? Learning Bible stories? Creating crafts? Spending time with your friends? Performing in Christmas and Easter programs?

Did you know that the very first Sunday schools were started in Great Britain in the 1780s? In those days, many children – even very young boys and girls – worked in factories during the week to help support their families. Churches began offering Sunday schools as a way to teach children about Jesus and to help them learn to read and write.

Today, United Methodist congregations offer many opportunities to learn about Jesus: Sunday school, weekly worship, confirmation classes, church camps, service projects and much more. The church’s Discipleship Ministries helps pastors and other leaders as they teach people about God’s love.

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, as we celebrate Epiphany, encourage us to remember our baptism and to set our hope on Christ, living for the praise of his glory. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Second Sunday after Christmas — God of this day and all days! We can only imagine the darkness of the world into which you sent your son—a world that believed that salvation rested on our ability to follow the rules. Jesus came to bring light into that darkness and into our darkness. As we bring our tithes and offering to you this day, transform them into light for the hungry, for the hopeless, for the forgotten, and for the oppressed. We will share his light in us! In Christ, we pray. Amen. (John 1:(1-9), 10-18)

Newsletter Nugget
Today, as we celebrate Epiphany, it seems fitting to highlight the work of Discipleship Ministries, which helps local church, district and annual conference leaders fulfill the shared dream of making world-changing disciples.

In October 2021, the United Methodist agency launched a new course for local church leaders “The Church’s Ministry with Dementia.” The hybrid-model teaching series is designed to help congregations see and engage with those living with dementia. In the three-month online cohort, participants read the book “Ministry with the Forgotten: Dementia through a Spiritual Lens” by Bishop Ken Carder.

The book and the eLearning course center on helping churches see the discipleship opportunities and challenges that come with ministry with those who are often unseen and forgotten.

“There is so much to learn!” one participant exclaimed. “Everything I have read so far is of great value to my church family and me.”

Thanks to your church’s support of the World Service Fund, Discipleship Ministries enriches United Methodist congregations, big and small. Thank you!

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