Dave Warnock of 42 has posted a manifesto for what he calls ‘Moving Methodism‘ (please click and read! He also has some follow up posts here, here, and here). It’s a fantastic start. The funny thing is that as I was reading his post, this post was already forming in my mind. So I would like to see this post as a somehow supporting Dave’s call to us.
It began with our Monday evening House Group on Hebrews. We discussed people’s reasons for their kids getting into Christian schools. Many parents want their kids to have the ‘Christian values’ taught to their children. I can’t comment on whether or not this works (and all church schools are not equal in their commitment to values education), but there is an element of continuity in that they are part of a routine everyday. I asked our house group the question, what if someone wanted to be taught the values of Christians as an adult (or as a child/young person who did not attend a church school)? I think we all agreed that Sunday worship once a week is only a part of it, in particular when it doesn’t appear to relate to anything that goes on the rest of the week.
In other words, we don’t have a set way of developing someone’s discipleship – many Protestants don’t, I don’t think. Maybe this is due to our traditional emphasis on accepting some propositions about the faith. Maybe there are other factors. Whatever the case, I have come to understand Christianity is lived out rather than just beliefs that are accepted. I don’t want to belittle the beliefs, but I am saying they are truths that perhaps are ‘lived into’ rather than simply accepted and then we are done with them. Our values come from what we are taught, but make little sense if left alone and not practised.
So I wonder, for Methodists already so and those who would be so, if there is any mileage in creating a Methodist ‘rule of life‘ (if ‘rule’ sounds too negative, would ‘way of life’ be better?). This would be particularly helpful to me, especially if done with others. It could be a simple way to assist people in developing personal discipleship that would lead to reaching out.
An outline could be:
- Daily Prayer and Scripture Reading: What form could this take? Not all Methodists would just open up the Book of Common Prayer and have a go at the daily office. We do have the Prayer Handbook. I always feel like as Methodists hymns should be involved.
- Worship: Finding ways to worship each week in community I think would be essential. Weekly Eucharists (for some) may be hard to come by on the circuit plan.
- Service: There could be two sides to this – either in a church leadership role (steward, treasurer, etc.), but also in some other form (hospice volunteer, etc.). Or it could be very loose (helping neighbours), but something to bring it a part of the routine.
- Community: Methodism was born in small accountability groups. Could this be a part of it?
I have no idea if this is all there should be or too much. Or if each point would be more detailed. Maybe a rule in the Methodist context wouldn’t work at all! Still, something that could be promoted, something could be given to anyone as ‘this is how Methodists live’.
Any thoughts? Comments?