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Wesleyan Wisdom: UMC should pay heed to the ‘tsunami’ prophets

Two true prophets of United Methodism are Len Sweet and Lovett Weems.  Both cut their teeth in what many people would consider cultural back eddies: West Virginia and Mississippi. Both are being ridiculed in some quarters as prophets of doom because, standing on the bridge of the Titanic, they see what the captain in the […]

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: Working toward an honest view of Aldersgate

Every United Methodist church is being challenged to become a “vital congregation.” For many, this is like pushing a snowball uphill as their strength is threatened by the ravages of aging membership and a sad track record in what our Book of Discipline defines as the mission of the local church—making disciples. As we engage […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: Getting straight about Wesley at Aldersgate

William Quick tells the story of two cleaning women staring at an artist’s rendering of John Wesley at Aldersgate. A curator heard one say as a prayer, “Do it again, Lord. Do it again.” In some sense each of us who has grown up with the Aldersgate experience in our “spiritual DNA” has yearned that […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: A struggling congregation must first ‘re-vision’

Several years ago while in Detroit for a church consultation, I read an article in the Detroit Free Press about pigeons. I learned that as a pigeon moves forward, its eyes lose focus. This requires the pigeon to strut only a few feet before it stops and snaps its head sideways, thus reconfiguring the eyes […]

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: Bishop Schnase offers prophetic assessment of UMC

Bishop Robert Schnase gave the episcopal address to the recent South Central Jurisdictional Conference, and United Methodists should heed his prophetic words. He offers a reality check on where we are and what will happen if we do not answer the call to “rise up, ye saints of God.” Let’s begin with this assessment by […]

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 […]

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