A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wesleyan Institute Off to a Great Start!

Our church, along with the fifteen Common Cup shared ministry churches, are hosting the Wesleyan Institute led by the General Board of Discipleship. Approximately 110 lay and clergy from Ohio and surrounding states are at this three day event which ends on Saturday.

Here are some of the highlights from today's opening
  • Purple everywhere! Our Common Cup purple is throughout our church building for the seminar. Volunteers are wearing Common Cup purple polo shirts, the dinner tonight had purple napkins/plates, and the centerpieces were purple flowers. It was really special to see lay people from our Common Cup churches helping at this event.
  • Dr. Paul Chilcote, a Wesleyan scholar, gave the opening talk on how Methodism began as a renewal movement within the Church of England.

Some points that he made worth pondering:

  • John Wesley, the 18th century founder of Methodism lived during a time when 1) the established church was all about preserving their past 2) The vision of the established church was inward 3) The church relied heavily on rational and theoretical thinking rather than practical thinking 4) The church had lost touch with the needs of common people
  • John Wesley's Way of renewing the established church was through TIPS - T stands for Transformation I stands for Incarnation P stands for practical and S stands for solidarity (with the poor.)
  • The Wesleyan way is to allow Christ's love to flow from us into the lives of others. To do this, we need to keep to the doctrines of our faith, rely on the Holy Spirit, and hold each other accountable in Christian love.
  • The church shouldn't just do mission. The church should BE mission. To be in mission/service is to think of the word, "Diakonia" which is the greek word for "service." "D" stands for Discipleship. "I" stands for Incarnation (be the church in the here and now.) "A" stands for Apostalicity (that is to be missional.) "K" stands for Koinonia (greek word for fellowship.) "O" stands for Orthopraxy (correct practice/beliefs.) "N" stands for Narrative (stories - early Methodists told their testimony stories at Love Feasts.) "I" stands for Iconography (greek word for pictures. The Wesley's did this through music.) "A" stands for Authenticity (Wesley wanted to help people in the restoration of God's image in their lives and to live out what it means to be fully human.)

I'll have Friday highlights posted tomorrow evening.

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