God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God
Stump the Pastor: Why Am I a Methodist?
Last week someone asked me why I am a Methodist. I was surprised to discover that this question challenged me. It challenged me because first and foremost I consider myself to be a Christian; being a Methodist is secondary to being a Christian.
So after thinking about it, I wrote down some of the reasons why I am a Wesleyan Christian, a.k.a a Methodist.
1. God rules the United Methodist church. As a follower of God, I want to be where the Spirit of our God is and I want to be God’s partner in ministry. The United Methodist church is a great place to be in ministry.
2. Jesus has put me into a United Methodist church. Prior to becoming a Christian I was an atheist due to my upbringing and background (if you want to know more, read my testimony titled How I Became a Christian on this blog: here is the link). After finding God, I attended a Southern Baptist church, a non-denominational church, have been to a Catholic church once or twice, and was married in a Presbyterian church. Six years after we were married, my wife and I ended up in a Methodist church because there was a feeling inside of me that kept pushing me to go to that specific church. At the time I did not know what denomination that church was, nor did I know anyone there. From the moment that my wife and I stepped into that church, I felt a connection with God and with the congregation. It was in that church that I received my call to ministry.
3. I have faith that the Holy Spirit of our God and the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is among men and women called Methodists when we gather together for Holy Conferencing. These experiences of the Holy Spirit and God’s Grace keep me rooted in the Methodist church.
4. I have a hope and a vision for this Church (denomination) and for the congregation(s) that I serve, and I feel that this dream can be fulfilled within the structure and support of the United Methodist church. That hope and vision is like a wind that energizes me and keeps me focused on my journey.
5. The United Methodist church maintains a balance between faithful obedience to the canon of Scripture and creeds of the ancient church, and freedom from the extremism and fundamentalism of both the right and the left. I am convinced that only from that position of theological balance are we able to effectively and faithfully meet the challenges of serving God by serving the world around us, while making disciples of Jesus.
6. The United Methodist church does not require that I make a choice between the faith of my heart (the fire and passion of the Pentecost), the faith of my head (intellectualism and reasoning abilities), and the faith of personal involvement (mission). I believe that these three (passion, understanding and involvement) are manifestations of our personal and communal faith, and as a Wesleyan Christian within the United Methodist church I am invited and free to engage all three.
7. John Wesley’s legacy (what he left for us) includes really cool ways of serving God (mission, evangelism, small groups, accountability, prophetic, relevant and culturally appropriate preaching, life-long learning from the traditions of the ancient church as well as from his contemporaries, are awesome ways of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.) I like that legacy and tradition of service and find it helpful on my life’s journey.
8. I feel that Methodism is my spiritual home. I was not born into the denomination nor did I ever make a conscious decision to become a Methodist. It simply happened. One day in 1996 I was given a glimpse of the open hearts, open minds, and open doors of one of many United Methodist congregations. I liked what I saw, and I became a member of that congregation. The rest, as they say, is history.
Would anyone else care to share your thoughts?