10 Reasons Small Churches Are (Or Can Be) Awesome – Part 5

How long has it been since I posted my last blog article?

How many days since I posted part four of a ten part series?

Oh just a few days…or more like 140!

How many people noticed. I dunno, maybe two. How many really cared – definitely less.

And this, my friends is one of the blessings of the small church.

Unfinished projects? No.

The flexibility to not do something so you can take time on more important endeavors? YES.

It is imaginable that if I was in a larger church setting, this aspect of my ministry would have been more closely monitored. Indeed this is a strength for many larger churches (or so I’m told). Projects are envisioned and brought to fruition in a structure that allows for more accountability and demands that things be finished, be done well and be done in a timely fashion.

But I’m glad that it’s taken 140 days to get to part four of this series.

If I had spent my time writing this – being held accountable to finish this project that I started, there would have been a few other things that would have been ignored.

And I tell you, those things were WAY more important. Recently I have been ordained as an elder in full connection in the United Methodist Church. Furthermore, I have undergone a transition, moving from one church to another – a task that brings with it a whole lot of new items on one’s “to do” list and new responsibilities. In light of these and other things – writing my blog would have been a waste of my time – and it would have been irresponsible of me.

So I didn’t. And there was no pressure otherwise. I had the flexibility and freedom to simply drop something, so something else could be taken up. Something that God was calling me to.

For those of us in the small church, let us remember this. Let’s remind ourselves that there are some things that need to be dropped, because God is calling us elsewhere. Let’s not worry to much about it either, because I suspect that we have flexibility and grace afforded us to do so.

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10 Reasons Small Churches Are (or Can Be) Awesome – Part Four

It’s been a while since I’ve added to this series of post – but I think the last one (see part 3 here, part 2 here, part 1 here) got away from me a bit. So I felt it might be better to give it some time and allow my thoughts to congeal a little bit more before spewing them out.


4) Creaking Wood Floors Give Weight to Sermons

God told Ezekiel - "EAT IT!" How's that for the presence of the word of God?

God told Ezekiel – “EAT IT!” How’s that for the presence of the word of God?

I don’t think I’ve ever preached in a large church. I mean, I’ve preached in churches larger than mine – but the room has never been what would qualify as “big”. I don’t know if I’d know how to preach in a space where my voice would echo (echo…echo…echo…), or if I’d even like it.

Not that it matters what I like or even what I’m comfortable with – but preaching in a small church, is “home” for me. I preach from the floor in our historic little sanctuary (built around 1879). The space has it’s own unique charm.

As an aside, I’ve been thinking about this often rugged/ worn/ historical charm so many small churches have visually. I’ve been wondering if this is something that can work FOR small churches – that is often thought of as something that would work against them. Again, when comparing ourselves to larger churches (a big no no) we might bemoan our lack of modern updated space for worship. But have you ever been on pinterest? EVERYTHING on that site looks is reminiscent of the charm of historical churches!

Our sanctuaries often look earthy and worn, as if wisdom earned through years of being on this earth; being with so many different people; experiencing love and loss and challenge and change – has been etched onto the pews and in slatted walls or in the tin-stamped ceilings. Might this appeal to people, and not just older people? I think so!

Anyways, back to my main point – regarding these small spaces, the small groups within and the power of the word of God read and preached. As I preach in this old church, the floor boards creak (yes, more for me than for others) as I shift my feet or walk down the red-carpeted isle. From where I stand, I’m able to make eye contact with every single person. I can see what they are doing, the expression on their faces, their body language – and they can see the same in me. The creak of the floorboards confirm for the congregation on some level, “I am here and I am sharing in the word with you”, and the rustling of the pages of old Bibles confirm the same thing for me.

Preaching in such a setting is often an intimate experience. There is a real sense of presence of the preacher to the people and of the people to the preacher. And it is this sense of intimacy and immanence that can give a certain weight to the sermon experience.

It also provides ample opportunity for congregational participation; asking questions and incorporating answers into the sermon, surveying the congregation, getting in some “amens” even. You can get creative – I once had a beach ball being volleyed around the sanctuary during a sermon (don’t ask me why, I don’t remember).

Now, typically preachers aren’t trained for this in seminary. We’re usually taught to preach in such a way that we talk and others listen. And such sermons have their place and are a good thing. However, the emphasis on sermons of this type have created an atmosphere in most small churches where it is hard to get responses from people and the folks in the pews are reticent to enter into a participatory sermon experience. (For more on this, try reading Doug Pagitt’s “Preaching Re-imagined”)

Now…I’ll be honest. I’m talking about a white church here. (Man…don’t get me started on how stupid it is that churches still tend to be segregated. Especially when the different traditions of Caucasians, African Americans, Latinos, Koreans, etc, etc, etc – could provide so much learning and growth for churches if they would just interact more! – OK Ok ok, another post for another day)

I’ll be even more honest, I have fun when I preach at black churches. I like the responsiveness – and it does get me a little charged up. But even in this tradition, which is so responsive, there still isn’t as much participation – in the sense of feedback and questions and answers – as there could be. At least that is what I’ve experienced and heard from colleagues.

The power of God’s word; read, spoken, preached and taught – is that it reaches us specifically. We believe that the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and we are thus inspired; touched and altered by the Spirit moving in us when we encounter and interact with the Bible. In a small church, how much more could this be true? That we could create worship experiences, especially during the sermon time that are interactive and participatory, and therefore foster holy moments when the word of God reaches specific people, in a specific way to do what God specifically desires it to do?

I’m blessed to know some ministers who have the gift of doing just this – and I pray that I continue to nurture this gift in myself. Because this is one way small churches can be truly awesome, and a true and powerful presence for Jesus Christ.

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10 Reasons Small Churches Are (or Can Be) Awesome – Part Three

Now the third installment in this series!


Part one – which spoke about the power of passion in the small church can be found here.

Part two – which spoke about relationships that connect people to Jesus, is here.

And now we are at reason three that small churches can be awesome…

Reason #3)     We’re Not Selling You Anything….

      …Because We Ain’t Got Nothin’ to Sell

The Church should always be counter-cultural to some degree or another. The Apostle Paul writes in the twelfth chapter of his letter to the church in Rome…

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This is both true of us as individuals and certainly as a holy community called to follow Jesus together. We are to allow God to transform us into a renewed image that is apart from the patterns of the culture around us. What are these patterns? One of them is the atmosphere of a culture of consumerism.

Is this attitude prevalent in the church? Heck yea it is.

Central to the consumerist worldview is that life is about buying and selling. You produce to earn, you earn to buy. you buy what’s best for the least amount possible and sell what takes the least amount of work for the most profit. It a system the presupposes scarcity and promotes a dog-eat-dog mentality. Okay, that’s super-simplified. But what makes this more than simple economics is the presumption, whether understood or just subconscious. that this is what life is all about.

This consumerism is contrary to the truth of grace which defines the kingdom of God, and should define the place where God is growing and nurturing His Kingdom, the Church. Consumerism assumes scarcity and promotes competition for resources. God’s grace is unending, limitless and utterly free. It is a gift that is not earned and it is to be shared freely as a gift to others through us. Living according to this grace; God’s unearned, free, eternal and powerful love, therefore defies the consumerist worldview. Because we believe that life is about much more than earning and selling and buying to survive or thrive – it is about giving, receiving and sharing the love and grace of Almighty God.

Regardless, there are plenty of times when we ignore this in our personal spiritual journeys and even as faith communities. In leading small churches conversations about ministry always eventually come to a point where someone compares the church to a larger one down the street. The lament is that they have an awesome youth ministry with more teens than we have members, or that their worship services are varied in style and so polished and attractive, compared to our one service that sometimes feels “dinky” in comparison.

“How can we offer what they offer?” or some similar question is asked. Now this is healthy to a point; to learn from our sister churches and take a critical-constructive look at our own. However, there is a point where the attitude essentially turns to “what can we sell that is like what they sell?” The idea being that ministry is like service we provide or a product we make for others to consume. If they come, if they participate, if they join – they have “bought” the product.

With an eye towards grace, you can see how that attitude is more consumerist than Christian. And it’s easy to see why it happens. Consumerism is a dominant cultural attitude after all. Many people are approaching church in this way when they come into our doors. As a pastor I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people about my church.

Other person: “Oh, you have a youth ministry? Well how is the band and is the youth pastor dynamic?”

Me: “No…there is no band…and I’m the only pastor at the church…We have a small church and our youth group is small, but filled with awesome people.”

Other person: “The only youth pastor?” (looking puzzled)

Me:“No…the only pastor pastor.”

Other person: “How can you not have a praise band for the youth? Or a separate youth pastor?”

Me: (What I’m soooo tempted to say) – “I said my church is small, okay? What do you expect? You think pastors just magically pull these things out of their butts?”

Me: (What I actually say) – “Well, we are a small, informal kind of congregation. We use the resources we have to do the stuff we feel Jesus calling us to do the best we can.”

Now sometimes conversations like these help me see things we need to improve or create within the church. But many times they just reveal the consumerist mindset of some folks. They think they come to church to consume something – to get something out of it. While we do get something out of being part of church, it is not what church is about. Church is about sharing and giving the love of Jesus Christ. If you’re only there to get something out of it – then that reveals a certain spiritual shallowness. Of course this shallowness is revealed in me as well whenever these conversations lead me to feeling inferior as a pastor, or envious of another church, forgetting that we are simply called to be what Jesus calls us to be.

So how does all of this contribute to the possible awesomeness of a small church?

In a consumer society – we don’t got nothin’ to sell. We are less able to participate in the culture of consumerism. This, of course, means we are less able to reach out to the part of the population that is in that place in their spiritual walk. Which is fine, there are big churches with big shiny programs for a reason – God may have called that church into existence to reach people small churches cannot. There are also people that large churches cannot reach. Again, a church is only to answer God’s call to be whatever He calls us to be. We are not to be all things to all people, that’s God’s job – and we shouldn’t try to take His place.

If a small church remembers this – it better enables us to do a few awesome things.

  • Listen to God’s call as a small community.
  • Answer God’s call as a more intimate and focused community

    Where do you think a call for a whole church is better heard? In a gathering of 1,000 or 50? Is it easier to gather together a small group or a large group in discipleship? JESUS ONLY HAD TWELVE! (And he even had trouble with them). It is a blessing of the small church to have a community who by nature of it’s size, can more organically share in their sense of call together. Who can gather together and answer that call with less bureaucracy and administration. Simply answering God’s call into ministry; for a church, there anything else more worthy of doing?

What we “offer” people then, is not a product or service, but an opportunity to be a part of such a community. To share in God’s love and to share it with others in the ways that God has called this community they have just entered into.

To often, we try and compete with larger churches – whose call is not necessarily our own. And what we do is try and provide services and products…that are really awful. We try to sell something that no one wants to buy. A cheap knock off of the original article. If you’re a member of a small church, you know what I mean. The times you have tried to copy another church’s ministry practice – and the results are lackluster. It happens because you’ve taken the practice of what one church has done in response to God’s call and simply pasted it into your church, without considering how God calls the church to adapt the practice or whether it should be used in the first place.

The small church can be a place of great creativity. Necessity is the mother of invention they say. Therefore, it is up to a small church to address that sense of “what can we do?” by listening for God’s call to the community and creatively addressing it with the gifts and resources God has given them. We aren’t to lament the lack of budget, or the inability to have what other churches have. Your church has what it has, and what it has been given has come from God’s hand; it is grace. Therefore it is enough to do what God wills the church to do.

And God’s will is not that we buy into the idea that we have to sell something to people. We don’t got anything to sell. In truth, no church does. What we have to offer is a community where grace is experienced. Grace is priceless. It is of infinite worth. It cannot be bought or sold.

So let us remember grace – and offer it, and share it – in the particular ways God has called your community to do so. And you will be the church you are supposed to be.


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10 Reasons Small Churches Are (Or Can Be) Awesome. Part Two


Continuing my series of posts on the small church – see the first reason here.

Feel free to comment or chime in.

Reason #2 that Small Church Are/ Can Be Awesome

      Small Church Relationships Can Be Deep and Transformative

My last post in essence spoke of relationships in the small church, and how the simplicity of a small and close network of believers can allow one person’s passion to help the whole congregation catch fire for God.

That was a “macro” view of the Spirit working in a small church, this is a “micro” view. I’m taking a glance at church relationships from the perspective of one person. After all, that was the perspective I had when I walked into the small United Methodist church where I first encountered the Holy Spirit and felt a sense of God’s calling on my life.

This sense of calling was conveyed to me in no small part through particular relationships I had with a number of people. I was welcomed and accepted. I was invited into people’s homes. I was encouraged to learn more about the Bible. I was ushered into ministry of various types and given opportunities to explore my spiritual gifts. I made friends with people I never would have otherwise and I felt loved by people I would never expect to love me.

I’ve heard it said that such relationship building isn’t as possible or is less genuine in larger churches. I don’t think that is at all true. Usually such things are said by members of small churches who have been mislead into having some kind of inferiority complex. (That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms – let’s just say these complexes aren’t conducive to spiritual or congregational growth).

You can encounter welcoming and loving people at any church of any size. You can be accepted and ushered into ministry in a mega church as well as a small red-door chapel on a hill. I’m not saying deep and transformative relationships are unique to small churches – I’m just saying it is something small churches can engage in and can excel at. In fact, for any church it is imperative.

However, I do believe that relationships in the small church have a unique character. For these relationships to have depth, in order for them to offer any power to change our lives as we seek to know and follow Christ, they must be SPIRITUAL. I was not simply engaged in relationships with church members when I first darkened that small church’s door. I was connected to people who were themselves connected to Jesus. Some of them had been walking their spiritual journey for years, some had only taken their first steps in discipleship – but they were somehow connected to Christ and they connected to me. Through them, I came to know Jesus more.

This happens at large churches too, and it’s just as amazing. But here is where I think there is a difference. A large church, with more resources can provide more comprehensive programming that helps people connect to Jesus. Therefore, through Spirit led ministries of various flavors, larger groups of people can be discipled. Well-resourced, well-planned and well-executed ministries can make up for the fact that the people seated around you, or the people that you encounter during fellowship, may not have a deepening relationship with Christ.

I’m not saying that they don’t. I’m just saying that IF these folks aren’t engaged in a relationship with Jesus, you are still given ample opportunity to connect with Jesus through the worship service you’re at, or the prayer breakfast you’re attending, or the children’s ministry you’ve come to, etc etc.

Small churches can’t provide that level of programming – we just can’t. Nor should we. However, if a new person comes into a small church and the three or four people they connect with are not connected in a deepening relationship with Jesus, then there is no program that will effectively provide that connection. Simply put, it is of utmost importance that the laity of a small church are engaged their relationship with Christ; they must be connected to Christ. You can’t cover up spiritual shallowness in a small church, it’s apparent during you’re first fifteen minutes.

However, spiritual vitality – a sense of God’s love and call – is also readily apparent in a small church. The moment you walk into that sanctuary, no matter the size or age of the people inside, if they are connecting with Jesus, you FEEL the life-giving power of God’s Spirit in that room. You connect to Jesus, through others who are connecting to Him in a more intimate setting. This kind of spiritual connection is what makes relationships in the small church unique and powerful. It is a concentrated dose of Jesus through others. You are immediately faced with what is at the very core of the gospel – love relationship. That’s what I encountered in my small church. I met people who were in love with Jesus. They weren’t perfect, and the worship service wasn’t spectacular. I was just given the chance to connect to others who connected me to the Lord. 

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10 Reasons Small Churches Are (Or Can Be) Awesome. – PART ONE


I once read an unapologetic  article penned by Bishop Will Willimon that blatantly pointed out the sins of smaller churches – especially those within my beloved United Methodist Church.

He spoke about how many small churches remain that way because they have lost sight of their primary purpose: bringing people into relationship with Jesus Christ. That instead many of these churches remain inwardly focused, engaging in petty infighting instead of working together as the Body of Christ, washed by His blood, for the world’s redemption.

I have to say that I agreed with A LOT of what Bishop Willimon had to say. But I also have to say, that as a pastor of a small church who heard his call in a different small church and was nurtured in ministry by a number of small churches, I got a little defensive.

But again, I agreed with what he had to say…mostly. I guess my thinking is this; if these are small church sins, perhaps that means there can be small church repentance. If our small churches turn away from the stereotyped ways they stray from God and His call to mission – what might they become? How might God be able to uniquely work through them?

So in response I am writing a series of posts that list reasons why a small church can be totally awesome for Jesus. Beginning with today’s 

Reason #1 Why Small Churches Are/ Can Be Awesome

        A Little Bit of Passion Can Go A Long Way.

Many have heard the song (hymn? campfire diddy? I’m not sure how to categorize it) “Pass It On”. The first verse along with the chorus goes something like…

….”It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around will warm up in it’s glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it. You spread his love to everyone. You want to pass it on”

Positive change in any church is less about programs and more about the people – and where they are in their relationship with Jesus. I’ve heard it said (by my former bishop, John Schol – who I’m sure didn’t come up with this phrase) that our churches face “adaptive SPIRITUAL challenges”.  Oftentimes, I believe that these challenges can be accepted and worked through in a smaller church in a way that is simpler and more effective.

I believe that adaptive spiritual challenges are about a few simple things – repentance and commitment. It is about a person, or a group of persons being turned towards Christ, entering into deeper relationship, hearing His call and answering it, filled with and aware of the Holy Spirit within them. It is about having a passion for Jesus and a thirst for following Him in ministry. This is how the Spirit creates momentum and power in a church.

So why can this happen is a simpler and more effective way in s small church? Essentially, one heart being turned towards Christ in deeper spiritual relationship in a small church can have a very immediate and sweeping impact on the congregation as a whole. I’m not sure if this is true in larger churches or not – but I KNOW it’s true in smaller churches, having experienced it myself.

The spark lights a fire. And a smaller bunch of kindling, gathered closer together will soon be ablaze together. The next step, is then finding ways to feed the fire and keep it going and helping it to grow. And it will. A whole church, large or small – on fire for God – will draw others to it.


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The Character of A MethodSIT

Last week, I wrote a post about what makes a Methodist, based on John Wesley’s address to the Methodist societies of his day entitled “The Character of a Methodist”. Essentially I wrote in my own words, the same fifteen points Wesley made about what Methodists are and what they are not.

Two things happened while writing this.

First, I noticed how far so many of our Methodist brethren and sistren (including myself, my colleagues and the churches I have served) have fallen from the ideals of John Wesley and his contemporaries. Really, I imagine much of this information would be new and perhaps surprising to many United Methodists today.

Here I would like to explain that at my core, I am – or maybe hope to be – a Methodist, not a United Methodist. Methodism has a long and rich history and has influenced many other denominations and traditions besides the United Methodist Church. This includes The African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Wesleyan, Free Methodist, Assemblies of God Churches, the entire Pentecostal movement, and many others. The degree to which any of these denominations and traditions are still truly Methodist is arguable. Some would say the this especially applies to the United Methodist Church (which mind you, has only been around since the Methodist Episcopal Church and the United Brethren Church merged in 1968). Nevertheless, United Methodism seems to be the primary inheritor of the Methodist tradition, and has been and will remain to be my spiritual home.

The second thing I noticed while writing the previously mentioned article is that I kept mistyping Methodist as “Methodsit”.

Can you guess where I’m going with this? If in any way our current United Methodist trends meander away from our Methodist tradition, could it be because we have forgotten what makes us Methodist; our Method of approaching and sharing the gospel, our Method of growing as more holy disciples of Jesus Christ, our Method of service in Christ’s name? Instead of engaging in these methods, have we, like so many other mainline denominations settled into comfortable places and comfortable pews? Instead of following Christ through our particular Methodist methods, have we instead just sat down, and become “Method-sits”?

So with this in mind – I’m revisiting John Wesley’s fifteen points that define Methodist Character. I will compare what I read about Methodists, with what I see Method-sits doing today, and I will alter the words to suit the Method-sit non-movement.

I will post a side by side comparison between John Wesley’s “Character of a Methodist” and this my “Character of a MethodSIT” later.


1. We think that our social and political opinions are paramount. We get so riled about about them that we make them more important than worshiping and following Jesus.

2. We like to use religious terms that alienate non church goers and newcomers. For instance, we tell people that resources are available in the “narthex” (instead of “in the back over there”), or that folks can come to “Furgang Hall” (instead of “downstairs”) for fellowship (which we could just call “coffee and snack”).

3. We let our religion stop at saying “amen” to a certain set of beliefs, and really try not to worry about living them out.

4. Methodsits are all about church, but not much about Jesus. They know how to function well in a religious atmosphere, but they may not know God. They are happy with the status quo that is their life and desire no deeper intimacy with God. All this talk about loving God sounds weird too, we just don’t get it.

5. Methodsits are grumpy and generally not fun to be around. Worship can be a snooze-fest and committee meetings can be pretty darn mean-spirited. If you visit a Methodsit church, you get the feeling that they don’t want you there, but that they too do not want to be there.

6. Methodsits are always complaining about something or another. There is always something wrong, or something to whine about. These complaints generally find their way to the pastor in some passive aggressive fashion, and are rarely offered to God in prayer before that point.

7. Methodsits don’t like to pray. It’s uncomfortable. What can we say to God? Doesn’t He know what we’re going to say already? Sounds like a waste of His time. In fact, it’s probably better that I don’t pray so God can concentrate on orphans and widows and junk. Wait…what? You want me to pray out loud. No no no, that’s the pastor’s job.

8. Of course Methodsits believe that God calls them to love everyone. They also believe that “everyone” means only the people they like and who are like them. It helps if they have money and smell nice too.

9. Methodsits try to live holy lives. We just don’t try hard. But we’re good at acting like we are holy, especially when it means we can act judgmentally towards others.

10. Methodsits seeks to live so that God’s will may be done. It’s purely coincidence that God’s will pretty much always looks like what we want.

11. Methodsits don’t believe their faith has anything to do with their deeds. Faith is only about thinking certain things about God. Actually doing what God says is too hard! And didn’t Jesus die on the cross so we wouldn’t have to?

12. Methodists devote as much of themselves as they possibly can to glorify God, within certain limits that so that their time, money and comfort are not truly sacrificed.

13. Everything a Methodsit does, absolutely everything, from the biggest to the smallest, is done to …meh, I dunno.

14. Methodsits like shiny new things and allow their hearts to follow their wandering eyes.

15. Lastly, Methodsits do as much good as they feel like they need to in order to justify themselves so that they don’t have to feel guilty about claiming Jesus but not following him.

Okay, so this list is harsh. But I think it proves a point. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be Methodsits, whether you are MethodIST or not. In fact, many of these points (as well as those made in my previous post about true Methodist character) likely ring true for many Christians who do not identify with Methodism at all.

The truth for all of us – and all our churches, is that we tend to be a mixture if both MethodSIT and MethodIST; good and bad; saint and sinner.

My point is that if we claim an identity, whether Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal or simply CHRISTIAN, we need to be mindful to live according to this new identity that we find in Christ. We need to live this new life we have been given, and not let complacency, worldliness or laziness get in the way of following our Lord.

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What Is A Methodist?

I’m a Meth-head

Wait. That doesn’t sound right….

I’m a Methodist nerd, how about that? Specifically, I’m a John Wesley nerd. I think that Methodism, at its very core, has incredible things to offer this world. Our way of understanding the gospel, and sharing the love of God, is incredibly applicable to the world we find ourselves in.

Alas, so many Methodists do not know what it means to have inherited this rich heritage, passed onto to us through the past 229 plus years.

I’ve begun a new members class at my church and have opened it to current members as well. The whole point is to teach people about what Methodist Christians believe and how we live this out, or at least how we should.

To help spread my methodistness (methodisticity? methodistasticness?) I wrote a newsletter article that went through the sixteen points John Wesley made about Methodist identity in his address, “The Character of A Methodist”. So here it is! My understanding of how John Wesley understood what it means to be Methodist!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1. We are not defined by our opinions. We believe in the authority of scripture, we believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. But any other opinions, whether religious, social or political – that aren’t at the root of Christianity – are just opinions.

2. We are not defined by our words. We don’t use super-religious words of phrases. We speak plainly and truly in ordinary conversation and when we speak of God.

3. We do not engage in any freaky religious actions or customs, or abstain from anything – unless it is said so in scripture.

4. We don’t believe in religion that is about ideas; that ends with us saying “yes and amen” to a set of doctrines. We believe that we are saved by God through faith alone, but faith means we live in relationship with God, in the depths of our hearts and in the ways we live out.

5. Methodists have had “the love of God poured out into their hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5) and who “love the Lord their God with all their heart, all their being and all their mind” (Matt. 22:37). To a Methodist, God is everything. Life is only about knowing, serving and being in love with God.

6. Methodists are filled with JOY. Why? Because we know that God loves them, and that Jesus came and died to save them for their sins, that He resurrected to give them new life and that the Holy Spirit lives in their hearts, filling them with this new life! Can you think of a better reason to be joyful?

7. Methodists have an attitude of gratitude. We hope and trust in God and give Him thanks at all times, even when things get rough.

8. Methodists pray. A LOT. Not that we are always kneeling in church, but our hearts are always lifted up to God. We are always mindful of God with us and within us. So we seek to communicate with him at all times.

9. Methodists express their love for God in the way they respect and serve their fellow human beings. We believe what the Bible says when we read “Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also” (1st John 4:21) We also know and are challenged by the fact that God’s call to love and serve everyone means everyone, even the unmentionables of society and our enemies. Because God loves them too.

10. Methodists seek to live holy lives. We desire to have pure hearts which are filled only with compassion, kindness, mercy and love for God and others. We also desire to have our hearts set on God alone, and to not want for anything of this world, casting aside greed, envy, lust and hate.

11. Methodists surrender their will. We want to do what God wants us to do instead.

12. Methodists know that “trees are known by their fruits”. And that the genuineness of our faith is revealed by our words, our actions and our attitudes.

13. Methodists devote everything they have and everything they are to God as they work in His kingdom, so that God may be glorified.

14. Everything a Methodist does, absolutely everything, from the biggest to the smallest, is done to bring God glory.

15. The ways of this world will not drag a Methodist down. When worldly wisdom says “buy more stuff for yourself”, we give to others. When it says “gossip and speak badly of others”, we only encourage and speak well of people. When the world says “it’s okay to indulge a little bit in fleshly desires”, we reject lust and excess and greed. Methodists focus on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—anything excellent or praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8)

16. Lastly, Methodists do as much good as they can to as many people as they can as often as they can.

So, when you look at this list – how do you fare? Are you a Methodist? I think I can check off maybe one or two, the rest I could work on a bit. But that’s the point. This is why we are METHODist. We have a method of living lives of love for God and neighbor; devoted and holy lives. The whole point of being Methodist is to grow as a Methodist. Methodism was never supposed to be denomination, it is meant to be a movement. For we are meant to move as Methodists, to grow in holiness, and together to move and change things in this world for the glory of God.

That is why I am Methodist. How about you?

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