Who Founded The United Methodist Church?

Who Founded The United Methodist Church?

From surviving a fire to founding a new sect of Christianity, John Wesley was one interesting guy.

"Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come to watch you burn." — John Wesley

The United Methodist Church. Founded by John Wesley back in the 1700s when his brother Charles and his friends wanted something different than the Anglican Church, or Church of England as it's better known. John Wesley, a guy who's mother was an influential character in his life. John Wesley, the pastor's kid who followed in his father's footsteps. John Wesley, the guy who made it possible for me to find a church home.

Having grown up the son of an Anglican minister, there is no doubt that John Wesley has always had some sort of relationship with God. It's said that his mother Suzanne was more influential in his life than his father. He almost died in a fire in his childhood home. While traveling back to England after being in the New World he longed for the faith of the Moravians on a ship just within sight. He wanted the faith to praise God even in a storm in which he thought he would die. And when his heart was strangely warmed at Aldersgate, a meeting in which he didn't even wish to attend, he found a fire and a passion both for God and his people.

Wesley's movement began the formation of the United Methodist Church, called "Methodist" for our knack of doing things the same way over and over again. We are a young denomination. We didn't start our "reformation" until 200 years after Luther started the Protestant movement. We may be young, but that doesn't mean we are not might.

The mission of the United Methodist Church is to "Go and make disciples of all nations", based off of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28. That is what we do, we go and make disciples. We are a missional church, focused on bringing hope and love to people all around the world. UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) is usually some of the first people on sight after a disaster. They have sent clean up buckets to Flint, West Virginia, Louisiana, and even Eastern Iowa just this year.

As a member of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church I cannot say how proud I am. As someone who back in 2008 used some of those clean up buckets in Cedar Rapids, who has gone on Mission Trips to help VIM (Volunteers In Mission) do relief, and someone who will be traveling to Louisiana this spring with my campus ministry program to help out brothers and sisters clean up after their disasters. I have seen first hand where the supplies go; I have worked with them and helped put them together.

A missional church. That is what we are. But we aren't just missionaries to people in far away places, we are also missionaries right here at home.

Morningside College, for the last 10 years, has put on a campus-wide event called "Into the Streets". We go out into the community for a day of no classes to give back to the community that gives so much to us. This year, the Campus Ministry team stayed right here at home and repainted our Chaplin's office. Last year? We cleaned out clean up buckets in preparation to send them off to be used. It's an event that, while it may not have intended to be this, helps us trace back to our United Methodist roots. Our mission and servants hearts.

Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, for all the people you can. A phrase that people to use to sum up Wesley's Three Simple Rules. 1. Do no harm. 2. Do good. 3. Stay in love with God. A phrase that we heard recently in a speech given by Hillary Clinton during her campaign. A phrase that I believe all of us should live by.

But my favorite parts of John's theology were that of grace, and the role that the laity play in the church.

Grace. John defines it in three ways. Prevenient grace. Grace that is given to us whether we accept it or not. It's God's active presence in our lives. Justifying grace. This is the grace of Christ's blood shed for our sins. The grace given to us so that we have everlasting life. Sanctifying grace. Almost can be described as salvation, but is the grace that allows us to live and grow as Christ lived. Threefold grace. It's a thing. And its an amazing thing.

The way that John looked at the laity, to me, is beautiful. He saw them as equal partners in ministry. Wesley, along with other protestants, saw them as priests, just called in a different way. Wesley gave them roles, such as lay servant and lay minister. He blessed them, saw them as equals, and showed them that they could be as influential as the pastor in the pulpit. How amazing? How wonderful? How inspiring.

So, there are the reasons I am madly in love with my United Methodist Church. John Wesley was a man that understood that we are all called by God, but in different ways. A man who empowered every day people like you and me. Empowered us to not be afraid, but to proclaim the mystery of faith.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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The Notre Dame Cathedral–Such A Loss Of History And Beauty, But What A Gift It Was To Experience It

Reid shares her story as she is saddened for Paris and the church.


After the massive fire that devastated large parts of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the 850-year-old cathedral's spire fell. French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation to share in the nation's sorrow but gave hope for the future. This includes the rebuilding of the cathedral together and making it more beautiful than ever. "The fire of Notre Dame reminds us that our story never ends. And that we will always have challenges to overcome. What we believe to be indestructible can also be touched," Macron said.

Tyler Reid

Among many others, Tyler Reid is saddened for Paris and the church. Although, she counts herself blessed to have seen it such a short time before it was destroyed. Reid, who was lucky enough to visit the amazing structure this past spring break, remarked:

My trip was filled with so many wonderful sites. Although, because Notre Dame carries the title of most-visited monument in Europe, my expectations were high. When I first walked up, there isn't one specific feeling I got; instead, it was more of a million thoughts running though my head. Once inside, looking at the massive stained glass windows combined with all the details in every crevice, it was hard for me to imagine people actually building this without the technology we have today. This hand crafted masterpiece really is so influential considering people still went there to worship, even after so much time has past and so many other cathedrals had been built. This proves how special the Notre Dame Cathedral really is. Due to my experience here, hearing about the fire hurt my heart, especially thinking about how some of the irreplaceable artworks and all of this history may be gone. This place truly influenced people, including me, and for it to be gone is a true tragedy.

Like Macron, Reid shares in the sorrow; although, for her, it was just from one visit. This proves the amazing impact the Notre Dame Cathedral had and hopefully will continue to have even after this devastation.

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