Tag Archives: Wesleyan Methodist

Talking about Jesus in A Complex World

World Methodist Evangelism (WME) is proud to work with partners around the world to train indigenous, front-line evangelism leaders to talk about Jesus in a complex world. Usually lasting one week, these evangelism seminars provide laity and clergy in the Wesleyan Methodist family the opportunity to explore the nature and practice of evangelism in a cross-cultural environment.

Pastors and laity from the United States are encouraged to join with international church leaders in learning, worship, and mutual growth. We have three seminars in 2020: Indonesia, Fiji, and Romania.

These unique learning opportunities address topics important to Christ followers in these respective locations. Some topics include:
–Ministry in migrant communities
–Faithful creation care
–Providing a faithful witness under the pressures of an increasingly secular society
–The role of healing in evangelism and discipleship
–Addressing local and global poverty from a biblical perspective
–Ministering in places where folk religion is being mixed with Christian teaching

These issues are of increasing importance and provide helpful insights for leaders around the world. In addition, these seminars provide an arena for the World Methodist family to meet together for sharing, learning, and preparing for evangelism. Teaching is led by local church leadership as well as pastors and scholars from the United States.

These experiences are perfect opportunities to grow as leaders and faithful followers of Jesus, and to encounter the wonderful things God is doing in the church around the world. Additionally, continuing education credit is available while experiencing evangelism and church leadership in these exceptional environments.

Upcoming Opportunities:
– Indonesia
– Fiji
– Romania
To learn more, click HERE.

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Here is the Church

By Rev. Dr. Robert Haynes

When I was a child, my grandmother taught me an old saying, a little rhyme that she would act out with her hands. It went something like this:

“Here is the Church”

(She interlaced her fingers, hiding them inside a two-handed fist)

“Here is the Steeple”

(She pointed her two index fingers upwards to make a steeple”

“Look inside, there’s all the people”

(She turned her palms upwards, revealing her wiggling, interlaced fingers)

With all due respect to my loving grandmother, is it fair to divide the church and the people that way? What does the Bible say about what, or who, the church is?

The New Testament gives no formal definition of the church. However, looking at contextual clues for the church’s own understanding of itself provides important insight. From its origins, the church understood itself as a gathered group in, and for the sake of, the world. The term used in Acts to describe the gathering of Christians, the church, is ekklesia. At the time of the writing of the New Testament, the term was already in common use to describe the gathering of the people of the city at the bidding of the municipal leaders. Ekklesia is a term that was used in Ancient Greek to describe the assembly called by the town clerk. It was the role of this clerk to call the people to assemble for his purposes: to make an announcement, dictate a policy change, or conduct some business. The gathering, the ekklesia, was called together by their leader for the purposes that leader wanted to fulfill.

However, the early church was not just a gathering of people to fulfill a political purpose. Rather, they were the gathering of the people at the request of the Highest Authority: a Christian community proclaiming that God was calling all believers for his purposes. Such a bold proclamation said that Jesus’ lordship is over all aspects of life. As such, they were publicly declaring all other religions and societal structures as inferior to God, Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son of God. Even the government and its leaders were to be molded and shaped by the teaching of Scriptures and lived out by the people gathered and scattered—the Christians, the church. What made the members of the early movements of Christianity distinct from the world was that they saw themselves as not just a gathering of people, rather as the gathering of the people of God.

By choosing to call themselves ekklesia, the New Testament church desired to be a group gathered among the whole city and desired that they could, one day, be a gathering of the whole city. Christians, from the very beginning, were a movement of people launched into the public life. They lived in such a manner that the social, political, and economic structures would reflect Christ’s teaching. They expected others to be transformed by Word: the teaching of Scripture, Deed: their acts of mercy and service, and Sign: the divine works of the Holy Spirit. They did not leave this work to a select few, what we today might call the “clergy.” Rather, they understood this to be the work of every Christian.

John Wesley understood this at many levels. For Wesley, the empowering of the laity in ministry was the way that God’s Kingdom is demonstrated through a community of believers demonstrating the love of God and neighbor, therefore fulfilling God’s commandments. Wesley sought to revitalize the church by re-energizing the laity in the Christian faith they seemed to profess, but failed to demonstrate. The early Methodists exemplified the lesson that the laity embodies the church, visible in the world. The Wesleyan Methodist movement continues to thrive where this is embodied today.

It is important to remember, that from the earliest foundations of the Christian movement, the church is not first a building or the clergy leadership. Rather, the church is just that, a movement of people who have been transformed by Christ and are inviting others to experience that transformation as well. The church is not merely the building, nor is the church merely the clergy. Rather, as another old saying goes, “If the building burned down and the preacher left town, what you would have left is the church.”

Dr. Haynes is the Director of Education and Leadership for World Methodist Evangelism and the author of Consuming Mission: Towards a Theology of Short-Term Mission and Pilgrimage. He is an ordained member of The United Methodist Church. He can be reached at rob@worldmethodist.org.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_facebook][vc_tweetmeme][/vc_column][/vc_row] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Praying for Our Pastors

Recently it was a joy to gather at World Methodist Evangelism’s annual invitational faith-sharing conference for North American clergy. Pastors and their spouses arrive from all across the country, representing a variety of Wesleyan Methodist denominations.

Order of the Flame is a special event every year, utterly unique. Pastors and spouses attend everything together; clergy from the AME Zion church and the United Methodist Church, Church of the Nazarene and The Wesleyan Church all mingle together to learn, laugh, and build relationships. Returning members from prior years sit next to new members who arrive exhausted and worn in their spirits. They leave with a new lease on life and fresh conviction about why they got into ministry in the first place.

Our growing Order of the Flame community includes many clergymembers, and we ask that you will join us in praying particularly for our Order of the Flame members. These pastors and their spouses have spent several rigorous days being equipped with faith-sharing resources, building relationships, and having their spirits renewed.

If you’re part of our community of John Wesley’s pattern of prayer and fasting, we ask that you include in your prayers the pastors who have come through Order of the Flame over the years, including our new 2017 members. In particular, pray that the Holy Spirit will apply the resources they’ve been given to their local ministry contexts. Pray for their spouses and families. Pray for the new relationships of support and encouragement that have begun. And pray for their congregations to be awake to the movement of God.

Every year we welcome a special bunch, and this year is no different. We celebrate the ministries of these pastors and pray that they share their faith in beautiful ways.

Valuing Our Global Family

World Methodist Evangelism is proud that we began as an initiative of the World Methodist Council, which represents and serves 80 denominations around the globe – over 80 million people. Last August and September the World Methodist Conference was held in Houston, Texas, and a parade of flags representing Wesleyan Methodists from Brasil and Nepal, Ireland and Pakistan, Japan and Nigeria, and many, many more places gave colorful illustration both to the worldwide Body of Christ and to the reach of the Wesleys’ influence.

A line of translation booths edged one wall of the large event room where everyone gathered for corporate worship. Not all Wesleyan Methodists saw eye to eye on every topic: far from it. But there was worship together, and singing, and Holy Communion.

The church is free in ways that no government ever will be, because we belong to Christ, and Christ alone. We accept each other’s wisdom and leadership, we acknowledge the giftedness of the other, the peculiar cultural challenges each region or denomination faces, and the unique contribution our member churches make to the Methodist movement but even more to the Body of Christ. No tradition is perfect – even if we do have the goal of being made “perfect” – complete – in holy love.

But there is beauty in seeing each other as beloved parts of ourselves. South Korea and Peru need each other. Poland and New Zealand need each other. Mexico and Kenya need each other. The United States and Iraq need each other…

Politicians have interests from which Christians may be joyously free. Our faith family is not contained by state lines or party lines, by skin color or culture, by language or ethnicity.

We are free to love each other. And we are free to love others.

What a gift.

Today, we’re thankful for our sisters and brothers around the world. We are thankful that we can serve our global neighbors without fear, because Christ’s yoke is easy, his burden light. To be sure, there is a great deal of suffering in our world. There is pain and loss, terror and trauma.

But Jesus never flinched. He sobbed at human casualty and grief. He raged against oppressors using the Temple as their umbrella for their own corruption. He sweat blood with intensity and agony at the moment of surrender.

But Jesus never flinched.

There are well-known anecdotes of Mother Teresa’s willingness to touch people suffering from all kinds of skin disease and ailments, often dying. In one story readers are told of a time a young sister was tweezing maggots out of someone’s skins at arm’s length, trying to avoid the worst of the stench, repulsed by the process. Mother Teresa gently chastised her, putting her face close to the rotten flesh, telling the young woman, “the body before you is the body of Christ.” For this tiny lady, each person, no matter how filthy, wretched or diseased, represented Jesus. How would we treat Jesus if he were in front of us? This quality of never flinching is itself a characteristic of Jesus Christ.

We are not called to withdraw in horror from suffering. We are called to gently lean closer, tenderly handle the weeping man or woman in front of us.

Christians – and Wesleyan Methodist Christians – lean in toward the smoke-filled hair, the gangrene, the PTSD, the cemetery, the shellshock, the loss of livelihood, the addiction, the empty eyes, the screaming, the language barrier, and we embrace.

We embrace, without a flinch.