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Wesleyan Wisdom: Aldersgate – a playbook for revitalizing the UMC

This is the sixth and final column in which we explore John Wesley’s spiritual journey toward Aldersgate. We are not doing this to idolize Wesley. Rather, our mission is to provide a playbook for individual readers and for local churches to study in small groups as they seek to help their congregations become more vital.In […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: Must the old order fade, or can we embrace the dawn?

Recently I saw the film version of Les Misérables, a moving portrayal of the fading of the old order and the rising of the new. At the barricades in the streets of Paris, the young and restless lost and the old order prevailed for another day. But the forces for change had a battle cry: […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: Like Wesley, do we seek an ‘inward witness’?

This is the fourth column in which we look at John Wesley’s “strangely warmed heart” experience on London’s Aldersgate Street on May 24, 1738 and ask, “What insight does Wesley’s journey to Aldersgate give to me?” We ask further if small groups in our churches might find in Wesley’s journey an avenue to becoming “vital […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: Can Wesley’s journey illuminate our path to renewal?

This is the third in a series of columns in which we’re looking at John Wesley’s experience at Aldersgate, its 13-year prelude and its long aftermath from 1738-1791. Let us never forget the incredible blessing that is ours for having not only Wesley’s sermons but the diaries and journals that put on record his journey […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: Word from Willimon – Don’t give in to despair

In one of Bishop Will Willimon’s last letters to his constituents in the North Alabama Conference before retiring last month, he wrote, “Our numbers indicate that we have been under led, or led in the wrong sorts of ways. Our indicators of institutional health say that we need to do some things differently.” He continued, […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: The harvest that comes from visits with first-timers

Often, I receive emails from people interested in the practice of pastoral calls and receiving of new members—two things that are never optional for parish clergy. Rather than itemize a “this is the way I do it” list, allow me to offer some anecdotal examples of how I approached one-on-one pastoral calling with those who […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: The harvest that comes from visits with first-timers

Often, I receive emails from people interested in the practice of pastoral calls and receiving of new members—two things that are never optional for parish clergy. Rather than itemize a “this is the way I do it” list, allow me to offer some anecdotal examples of how I approached one-on-one pastoral calling with those who […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: Ala.-W. Fla. bishop shares his leadership style

United Methodists love our bishops. One of the 1808 “Restrictive Rules” was that subsequent General Conference sessions could not “change nor alter any part or rule of our government so as to do away with the episcopacy.” We usually see our bishops in their role as presiding officers and we are aware of their power […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: Using Internet and more, small churches can be vital

General Conference is perhaps at its lowest ebb of leadership since 1844, the conference that led to the division of the Methodist church, over the issue of slavery, into two denominations. I am hearing from someone in every jurisdiction that the effectiveness of Jurisdictional Conferences in electing bishops is also under question. The talk of […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: Turning dying churches into vital congregations

Every United Methodist Church would benefit if a network of small groups would study Len Sweet’s latest book, The Greatest Story Never Told. Our singing a “somebody done somebody wrong” song about General Conference will get us nowhere. (When you point an index finger, you have three fingers pointing back at yourself!) Instead, the focus […]

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