Recently Read: Methodist Church Group Gets Faith Tattoos

Photo Alan Youngblood / Ocala Star-Banner

Photo Alan Youngblood / Ocala Star-Banner

The Ocala Star Banner has a story about pastor Michael Beck and some of his church’s congregation members getting faith based tattoos together in order to share the Gospel with more people.

Beck is known locally as the organizer of the Recover Ocala outreach held here from 2010 to 2013. Now the senior pastor at Wildwood United Methodist Church and recovery pastor at New Covenant United Methodist Church in The Villages, Beck leads a Christ-centered recovery program at both locations. He said he hopes the group’s faith-based tattoos will serve as an outreach to people who see them.

“I think, in a big way, Christianity has become irrelevant to our generation, our culture. I think it’s because we’re not willing to engage the culture and find new ways to do church,” Beck said.

“The group decided to get the tattoos on different places of their bodies that are symbolic to them. We do want them to be visible, because we want to invite people into a conversation where we can share our faith,” Beck added.

Four married couples participated in Saturday’s inking. Among them were Greg and Nicole Pennington, coordinators of the Wildwood church’s street evangelism program.

“This is really a big move for us,” Greg said. “We’ll be walking billboards when we do our evangelism walk.”

Nicole said her decision to get her foot tattooed came from Romans 10:15 that says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.”

“It is painful, but there’s something cathartic about it,” Nicole said. “I think, if Christ can bleed for me, and if my body is a living sacrifice for the Lord, why can’t I use this to start a conversation with somebody about my faith?”

Read the full article and jump into the heated comments section at the Ocala Star Banner

UPDATE: The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church has its own story out about the Wildwood UMC congregation members getting tattoos together.

 Tattoos can stir controversy, especially among some traditionalists who point to a ban against the practice in Leviticus 19:28: “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.”

But Wildwood UMC is a church focused on finding ways to reach out to unchurched people or those who drifted away from traditional churches that no longer seemed relevant to their lives. Old Testament rules and policies from thousands of years ago were never meant to be permanent, Beck says.

“God loves us, God healed us, and we are Christians in the Wesleyan tradition who want the world to know that,” writes Beck in an email. “It is my belief that Christianity has been irrelevant to the majority of this generation for too long. We have to find new and innovative ways to get out where the people are and get in relationship with them. We have to engage the culture and transform it for Christ.”

The Wildwood congregation is embracing a new perspective from Fresh Expressions, a worldwide Christian movement that seeks to create “fresh expressions of church” in places outside the traditional church setting. It began in the United Kingdom about five years ago.

The Florida Conference is exploring partnering opportunities with Fresh Expressions US, based in Virginia. Beck serves on a task force working on this issue.

Recently Read

Recently Read

Recently Read posts are stories the editors of The United Methodist Reporter have found interesting from other sites and wanted to share with our readers. The editors do not necessarily endorse the opinions shared in these stories, and referral here should not imply endorsement of that content.

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7 Comments on "Recently Read: Methodist Church Group Gets Faith Tattoos"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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Kevin
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I do not look down upon people with tattoos. I simply do not think a pastor should be encouraging the practice.

Rev. John P. Feagins
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Reasons why not: 1. If ANYONE tells you that you are looking down on them or judging them because you don’t engage in their behavior or sub-culture, that person is not your friend. Since tats are permanent, we need to be sensitive to people who wear them, but sensitivity, tolerance, hospitality, and love do not require conformity. Tolerance and cultural sensitivity is a two way street. 2. Our church leaders are always keen to change things, as evident in the Discipline. How long before they change the logo? Then what? Will your church pay for the removal? Anyone remember the… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
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What an excellent witness for Faith! It is a fact many tattooed people – those Tex Sample called “hard living” – do not feel welcome in churches because church people look down on them – more so if the tats are visible. This is one small step to rectifying this. Leviticus? Take it all at face value, or none. If you choose to look down on the inked, stop eating barbecue, cheeseburgers, shrimp, etc., stop wearing mixed fabrics, sell your daughter into slavery, the whole nine yards. “Clobber passages in this post-Babylonian exile catalog of legalisms are most often used… Read more »
michael
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Amen George!

Kevin
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Leviticus 19:28 just sayin’

michael
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Hey Kevin, may the Lord bless you and keep you my brother. Just a question for you to put on your critical thinking cap… since you’re quoting Leviticus 19:28, I’m assuming you don’t eat medium-rare steaks, trim your beard, or cut your bangs? Which are all restrictions in the same passage? Leviticus 19:26-27 (NRSV) “You shall not eat anything with its blood. You shall not practice augury or witchcraft. You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.” If you do eat steak, shave your beard, and cut your hair, then may… Read more »
Kevin
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I get a haircut every couple of weeks, shave every day and I like my steaks medium well. I do not practice witchcraft but I am a fan of Supernatural. Sam and Dean crack me up. As to that tattoo thing I must have missed how we got from Leviticus 19:28 to where this pastor is today. How did that happen?

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