This series is about claiming the faith we’ve been given with boldness and enthusiasm. But it is also about honoring those from whom we learned about Christ. So, there can be space for both: making new commitments to following or renewing commitments long standing. There are lots of ways to do this effectively and powerfully in corporate worship. The traditional altar call can still be a moving moment during worship. But for some, the altar call seems overly emotional or even manipulative. So, take care in how the call is issued and how space is made for everyone who wants to come forward to be able to do so.
There are other ways to call for commitment during worship. It can be done in writing, or in a prayer station movement through various places in the sanctuary or beyond. It could also be left to individuals to respond in the quietness of their own hearts. Perhaps a prayer of commitment could be prepared ahead of time and inserted into the bulletin or handed out at the door as a reminder to all who come. Make sure to provide for those who worship online to receive their prayer cards as well. You could mail the cards or provide downloadable cards from the church website or email chain.
The other component of worship during this series is to make space for testimony. Like Timothy, who is reminded of how his mother and grandmother were instrumental in shaping his faith, members could be encouraged to tell the story of those who mentored them as disciples of Jesus Christ. These stories would be recorded on video to be shown during worship or written up and handed out to the congregation as a devotional during the month of October.
Names and images of these mentors could be collected for display, for honoring, and for thanking. When you pray, you can give God thanks for those who have walked alongside us, who have gathered us up when we have been scattered by the struggles of our lives. We can ask God to open our eyes to those we could gather up too, for opportunities to share the faith we have known. When you sing, you can celebrate the legacy of faith: “Faith of our Fathers” and the rewrite “Faith of Our Mothers” and many others.
We rekindle the gift when we acknowledge those who have brought us to this place. We rekindle the gift when we recommit ourselves to this path, to the work of discipleship.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.