The Bible is the ultimate source of our beliefs as United Methodist Christians. In order to interpret Scripture, we also seek to learn from the traditions handed down to us over the past 2,000+ years of Christianity, use our God-given reason, and value both our individual experiences, as well as, the experience of those who have lived the faith before us.
Ephesians 2:8-9 summarizes our understanding of salvation: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast." Salvation is a gift from God that cannot be achieved on our own, but can simply be accepted as a gracious gift from God. As Christians, our salvation is made evident in the way we live our lives and in the fruit we produce in response to God's saving grace.
United Methodists recognize two Sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion. A sacrament is a special way by which God's grace comes to us.
Baptism is a one-time only Sacrament that is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given to us by God. Through it, we are welcomed into the household of God, washed from sin, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and united with Christ and his Holy Church. In the United Methodist Church we practice infant, youth, and adult baptism by sprinkling, pouring, or full immersion. In infant baptism, parents or sponsors answer the baptismal questions for the child with the understanding that at a later date the child will make a public profession of faith in Christ for themselves (through a 5-month-long process called Confirmation), and the congregation also vows to support the child and his or her parents as they raise up the child in the life of faith.
Holy Communion is a repeatable Sacrament of the Church in which God's people are given "food for faith". In Holy Communion the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ as he spoke of them at the Last Supper with his disciples before being crucified. In this Sacrament, we are united to Christ and to one another. As United Methodists we have an “open table”, meaning all persons, regardless of age, race, gender, membership status, or denominational affiliation, are welcome to receive Holy Communion in worship. Since Christ is the host at the table and he welcomes all, we also welcome all. At Noblesville First we receive Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month.
Baptism ushers a person into the family of Jesus Christ, and is the first step in becoming a member of a local congregation. To be received into the membership of The United Methodist Church a person promises to support and participate in the ministries of the congregation with their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.
There are currently over 12 million members of The United Methodist Church worldwide, with approximately 200,000 living in Indiana. Noblesville First UMC currently has approximately 1,600 members.
The United Methodist Church as a denomination seeks to take faithful positions on many social, economic, and political issues of our day. While membership in the United Methodist Church does not in any way mandate personal concurrence with any particular denominational stance, it may be important for you to know the official positions of the UMC. To review The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church click here.