Omaha-Area Churches Collaborate on Sermon Series Concept and Advertising
by Rev. Chris Jorgensen, Hanscom Park UMC in Omaha, NE.
A group of six Omaha-area Reconciling (or actively discerning) churches have joined together to promote a shared sermon series in January 2020. The sermon series is called “New Year’s Revolution: Resisting Evil, Injustice, and Oppression in 2020.” The execution of the sermon series will be different at each church, but we will all share advertising based on our United Methodist baptismal covenant which requires us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. We are employing shared branding inspired by the design of the baptismal covenant t-shirts . We will be advertising on NPR, posting 120 fliers around the city, and distributing 4,500 invitation cards. Each invitation card is personalized for each individual church to include congregation-specific events on the back side of the card. We plan to resist the harm being done to LGBTQIA+ people inside and outside of the church by growing our inclusive and affirming congregations through invitation to people who might be interested in joining God’s work of love and justice.
Because the collaborating churches are part of the same district network, we were eligible for funding via a conference Network Grant. If you would like to see a copy of our grant application, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For your planning assistance, here is the outline that two of the congregations (Hanscom Park UMC and Urban Abbey) have decided to use for the sermon series.
January 5 (Epiphany)
- What does it mean to resist evil? How do we resist evil, injustice, and oppression?
- What does that have to do with baptism?
Theme: EVIL, INJUSTICE, and OPPRESSION
- How do you identify evil, injustice, and oppression?
- Sometimes it is not as obvious as the Massacre of the Innocents.
- Maybe sometimes it is, but we just don’t want to see it because of how it benefits us.
- Do we overlook the Massacre of the Innocents because our hero Jesus survived by fleeing to Egypt?
Scripture: Massacre of the Innocents
Theme: IN WHATEVER FORMS THEY PRESENT THEMSELVES
- The subtlety of evil, injustice, and oppression: microaggressions, garden variety discrimination, systemic issues.
- Welcoming versus actually affirming and giving voice & power to newcomers.
- How can our efforts to affirm and include go beyond just welcoming?
- How do we bear fruit that shows deep repentance instead of just pay lip service to including all?
Scripture: John the Baptist
Theme: JOYFUL RESISTANCE
- Sustaining resistance, resilience, eschatology, joy.