A few months back I had an opportunity to sneak into a Wesleyan Leadership Conference put together by some friends at the GBOD. While there I heard some really neat ways that the Methodist faith was being lived out. Highlighted by the illustration of a monastic methodism being created and lived out in “People of New Day.” Methodists were growing, thriving in the young adult communities (both statistics that do not translate for the church as a whole), performing mission, and living in community with one another. Very neat stuff for the church.
As the group studied the practices and the mindset of Wesley it weighed more and more on the hearts that the white elephant in the room. The white elephant being the “Call to Action” in contrast to what their seminary and wesleyan training were telling them. Instead of being a grassroots and young adult driven renewal that started the methodist movement, it could be said we have a top down initiative from our institution leadership to try and bring about change.
So questions arise. Where does change come from?
For this group of clergy friends they embarked on a spirit of exploration for themselves to answer that question. I was there for dinner as they started this conversation. They have over the months included many other people whom I hold in high regard in crafting what is their Missional Methodist Manifesto.
The hope is that the claimed statements (and you can sign onto the document if you like) will help guide us all to recapture that internal passion and grassroots fervor to reshape our church into the things that make it great, not the things it has sometimes become.
My personal note to you as a youth leader. This might seem out of your area of care. “This is something for clergy and bishops. I just am worried about what to do on Wednesday night.” I implore you to take interest in the faith tradition you have claimed and are serving within. Methodism started with leaders who worked with youth and young people in mission and study just like you & it will need leaders just like you to continue its mission. Read up on the ‘manifesto’ and the ‘call to action.’ One of these at the very least will affect you in the coming future, maybe both.