Discipleship Resources International
General Services for Christian Worship in the United Methodist Tradition
General Services for Christian Worship in the United Methodist Tradition (Second Edition, 2016) is an update of a resource originally published in 2000 to provide a set of guidelines and base texts in English that may be adapted or translated for use in settings outside the United States.
Since 2000, several new developments have taken place in United Methodist worship that required an updated version of this resource. By Water and the Spirit and This Holy Mystery have been adopted and reaffirmed by General Conference as the denomination's official statement of the doctrine and practice of baptism and Holy Communion, respectively. In 2008, General Conference also altered the vows for membership in The United Methodist Church and the local church in our baptismal ritual. The revised services provided here account for these statements and changes.
Also since 2000, the role of Discipleship Ministries in equipping Central Conferences with basic resources has dramatically expanded, primarily through the work of Discipleship Resources International. As a result of expanded communication and partnerships with Central Conference leaders, it became evident that a revision of the General Services needed to include a wider variety of examples of services than the previous edition, and, in particular, an example of a service of Committal and samples of Great Thanksgivings for use at weddings and services of death and resurrection, and guidelines and a Great Thanksgiving for use by clergy when distributing the sacrament to persons unable to attend a regular service of worship.
It also became evident that the new edition of General Services should be more forward thinking, incorporating our best ideas about where these services should be heading, and not simply where they have been. To that end you will find three new elements in this resource. The first is new language for the call to remember at confirmation or reaffirmation. It now reads, "Remember you are baptized, and be thankful," instead of "Remember your baptism, and be thankful." This small but significant change helps eliminate confusion for persons who may have been baptized in infancy or early childhood, and so who have no clear memory of the act of baptism. All who have been baptized, at whatever age, can remember and rejoice that we have been baptized. The second, also in the baptismal covenant, is a rite for recognizing and receiving baptized members from other churches or communions. The third is a new "Great Thanksgiving for General Use" that follows the recommendation of This Holy Mystery to involve the whole assembly more actively in the Great Thanksgiving.
The revision process, begun in 2014, has included significant collaboration with staff persons from Discipleship Ministries and the Board of Global Ministries, as well as intensive review, across multiple revisions, from United Methodist professors of worship.
Translations of the document will be forthcoming. And the English version is available now for immediate download, use and translation into local languages.
We hope you will find this resource both refreshed and refreshing as you develop or update worship resources in the United Methodist tradition in your context.
Peace in Christ,
Director of Worship Resources
Discipleship Ministries | The United Methodist Church