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          1022 New City Road
          Chatham, IL 62629

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NEXT STEPS

Accepting Jesus

Just like being born as baby, accepting Jesus – often called “being born again” – is one of the easiest and hardest things you’ll ever do. Let’s face it: while traumatic, once a baby gets in the right position, the momma does all the work.

It’s the same with accepting Jesus. 

We need to get our hearts, minds, and souls in the right position – that means giving up control to God – and then let Jesus do the work.

The Bible says in John chapter 3, verses 16-17, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

It says in Romans 10, verse 9, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

That sounds easy and it is – for us – because Jesus did all the hard work. He came, lived, taught, suffered, died, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and pleads for our salvation continually so all we have to do is accept it. The only hard part for us is to quit trying to doing it on our own and trust him to do his part.

There’s nothing magic about the words, but many Christians have found that praying a prayer like what follows helps them focus their thoughts and faith so they can confess with their lips that Jesus is Lord and express their heart’s belief that God raised him from the dead.

I encourage you to pray it now, return to it often, and repeat it on a regular basis:

Dear Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I do lots of things I don’t want to do to hurt myself and others;and the things I want to do I find hard, and sometimes impossible to do. I believe with all my heart that you died and rose from the dead to save me and all who accept you from our sins because you want us to have more abundant life here on earth and to live with you forever in heaven. 

I want it too. 

Please forgive all the sins I have committed against you. Please forgive all the sins I have committed against others. Please forgive all the sins I have committed against myself. Please forgive all the things I should have done but left undone. 

I open my heart to you now and ask you to come into it as my personal Lord and Savior, helping me to grown more into your image each day. In your precious I pray. Amen.

That’s the first step. Step two is finding a mature Christian you trust and telling them what you’ve done so they can mentor you in your faith. Step three is finding a Christian family of faith to grow in. We call these “churches” or “worshipping congregations.”

Have you ever noticed that babies are born into families, or they don’t live very long? That’s because a newborn baby is pretty defenseless. They need a family to love and feed and nurture and care for them, to teach and train them, until they can care for themselves and, eventually, care for others. That’s one of the most important jobs any church ever has to do.

Whether it’s the Sugar Creek United Methodist Church or another worshipping Christian congregation, once you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you’ll need a family of faith to love you and feed you and nurture you and care for you, to teach and train you, until you can care for yourself and, eventually, care for others.

Please find that family of faith!

Christian Baptism

Christian baptism is a religious adoption ritual by which we claim our rightful place as God’s children and heirs to His kingdom.

As such, individuals can be baptized at any age – infant, child, youth, or adult – and it doesn’t matter how much water is used because it’s God’s choosing of us through His Son Jesus Christ – not anything we do – that makes us part of His family.

We just need to accept His gift.

United Methodists, therefore, let the individuals being baptized (or their parents) choose the means by which they are baptized – sprinkling (that is, touching their head three times with a hand that has been placed in water), pouring that water on their head, or completely immersing them in water.

Other churches may do things differently – and that’s OK – but this is how we do it in The United Methodist Church.

United Methodists do not rebaptize anyone, even those transferring from another denomination, because doing so would say that there was something wrong with their original baptism, but we do encourage our members to periodically “remember your baptism and be thankful” and we even have a ritual for doing so.

Those who were baptized by sprinkling or pouring as an infant, don’t remember it, and would like to recommit themselves to Christ by renewing their baptism – possibly through a different use of water (such as immersion) – have often found this baptism renewal experience deeply moving, as they claim that earlier event for themselves without denying the deep love their parents had for them when they brought them for their original baptism.

This is similar to how a married couple might renew their wedding vows after being married for a particular period of time. They don’t get “remarried” because they’re still married, but there is often great power and intimacy in renewing their marriage vows.

They just don’t need to get, sign, and file a new wedding license.

If you’re interested in being baptized, renewing your baptism vows, or having your infant or child baptized, please call the church at 217-697-4643 and our pastor would be glad to answer all your questions and set up a date and time for it.

Confirmation

Basic Requirements

Confirmation/church membership training is open to everyone who will be 12 years of age or older by Confirmation Sunday. At the pastor’s discretion, this minimum age requirement may be waved for those who are exceptionally mature. There is no maximum age for confirmation. All who choose to become full members of the church are expected to live by their membership vows, including the one that asks, “As a member of this congregation, will you faithfully participate in its ministries by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service, and your witness?” Those who complete confirmation training but choose not to become full members at that time will be issued a certificate of completion but will not be expected to fulfill the vows of full membership.

Philosophy of Confirmation

Confirmation/church membership training is not “the class for joining the church.” It is, instead, an inquiry into the Bible, the history and teachings of our Christian faith, the structure and beliefs of The United Methodist Church, the theory and practice of personal and public worship – including baptism, communion, confirmation, weddings, and funerals – and the meaning of church membership. By the end of this class, students will have the knowledge and experience necessary to decide for themselves if they are ready to become full members of the Sugar Creek United Methodist Church. If that decision is “Yes,” great! If it is “No” or “Not yet,” that’s great too. Any decision made about church membership will be based upon a full understanding of what membership is all about. Our pastor’s classes are exhaustive, exhausting, and fun. To help with the process, the following items are required:

Membership

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