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Archives for Practicing Your Faith

A beautiful sunrise signals the start of a new day. Photo by Howard Lebowitz, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

Beyond New Year’s resolutions — make ‘faithful intentions’

Once a year resolutions can be hard to keep. Here are eight starting points to making a covenant that's more spiritual. Read More

Clutter can build up in our church closets and in our lives. A photo illustration by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.

Spiritual decluttering: A fresh start for a new year

The closet may not be all that needs a fresh look. How might you make room for the Holy Spirit to do something new in you in 2018? Read More

These Protestant prayer beads were made by United Methodist artisan and author Kristen Vincent. Photo courtesy of Kristen Vincent, Prayerworks Studio.

Prayer Beads for United Methodists

United Methodist artist says anyone can find focus and improve their prayer life with beads. View

Author and pastor Adam Hamilton shares about Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Photo courtesy the Rev. Adam Hamilton.

Christmas through Joseph's Eyes with Adam Hamilton

United Methodist pastor and best-selling author of “Faithful,” shares lessons about character, faith, and fatherhood from Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Listen

Coloring can be a creative addition to your Advent devotions this Christmas. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Coloring Advent: Creative devotions for Christmas

Read scripture and reflect on the season as you color. These sample pages and devotions offer a way to pause and ponder in the busyness of Christmas. Read More

Author and speaker Brian McLaren is a 2017 guest on Get Your Spirit in Shape podcast. Photo courtesy Brian McLaren.

Way of Life with Brian McLaren

The bestselling author and speaker chats about the Christian way of life, how to live and love as Jesus teaches, and the method of United Methodism. Listen

Youth of Centenary United Methodist Church in Los Angeles serve a meal during their annual

Easy ways to share gratitude this Thanksgiving

Find creative ideas to make this season of thanks more about giving than receiving. Read More

Superintendent Wilfried Nausner (right) with Mr. Rigels Kasmollari, Executive Director of the Foundation Diakonie Metodiste in Albania. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Wilfriend Nausner.

Better Together: Why church membership matters

Joining a congregation is not about what we receive. It is a commitment to a local community and a global body of believers. Read More

Trail chaplain: “We are all hiking the same path”

United Methodist chaplain Matt Hall meets many along the Appalachian Trail, all connected by their common journeys to deepen their own faith. Read More

Ye Win (Nelson Lee, left) instructs Rev. Michael Spurlock (John Corbett) where to plant each of the crops to be grown in the fields at All Saints church, in the new movie ALL SAINTS. Photo courtesy of AFFIRM Films and Provident Films.

Faith, respect for refugees at heart of “ALL SAINTS”

A film about a struggling congregation shows the many ways welcoming and helping refugees can change a church. Read More

When we listen to a sermon, there are things we can do to hear God speaking to us. Photo by Ben White, courtesy

Listen up, members: How to hear a sermon for all it’s worth

What is God speaking to us from the pulpit? A United Methodist pastor tells us how to be active listeners and get the most impact from a sermon. Read More

Remember your baptism and be thankful. File photo by John C. Goodwin, United Methodist News Service.

5 ways to remember your baptism

In baptism, United Methodists vow to live as followers of Jesus. Find some easy ways to remind yourself of that commitment each day. Read More

Living together well

Living together well is hard, but possible

"No one... has all of the answers. We discover truth in community, in the dynamic exchange that is authentic relationships." Read More

Since 1949, the West Des Moines United Methodist Church food stand continues to serve a full food menu to state fair attendees. Photo courtesy of the West Des Moines United Methodist Church.

Iowa church still serves State Fair food

Since 1949, the West Des Moines United Methodist Church food stand continues to serve a full food menu to state fair attendees. Read More

Privilegium Gospel from Finnsnes Metodistkirke in Finnsnes, Norway, inspires their audience with a rendition of Todd Dulaney’s “Greater” during a recent concert tour. Photo by Arne Ivar Hanssen, used with permission.

Traveling United Methodist youth choirs sing the Good News

Tours of church music groups offer more than new scenery. They create both teaching moments for the chaperones and lifelong memories for the choir members. Read More

When we become better stewards of God's gift of water, we help assure that everyone has access to this precious natural resource.

A Christian calling: Save water, save lives

United Methodist advocates share eight easy ways you can become a better steward of water and care for Creation. Read More

World Communion Sunday is celebrated by United Methodists and others all across the globe. Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.

World Communion Sunday: A celebration of unity and service

This weekend United Methodists in churches around the world will take part in a special Sunday. Here's what you need to know to be ready. More

Holding resentment stops us from moving toward healing. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

The secret to forgiveness: Focus within

Letting go of resentment can be difficult. A United Methodist counselor offers tips to help us move away from holding a grudge and into forgiveness. Read More

The Rev. Adam Weber is lead pastor of Embrace United Methodist Church. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Adam Weber.

Talking with God through Prayer with Adam Weber

Do you struggle with prayer? Ever wonder if you’re doing it ‘right’? Get tips and thoughts for improving your prayer life from a United Methodist pastor and author. Listen

We can pray anywhere, but some spots are special. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

We can pray anywhere. Where’s your favorite place?

United Methodists share favorite places to talk with God—at home, in nature, while driving, and more—inspiring us to find our own special spot. Read More

Get your spirit in shape with podcasts! Artwork courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

Get Your Spirit in Shape podcast

United Methodist podcast offers tools, tips and thoughts to help us live our faith more fully. Listen to individual episodes or subscribe. More

The choirs of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis sing during a Sunday service. Photo courtesy of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church.

Choir members enjoy health, spiritual benefits

Singing in church creates better worship, a greater sense of community, and improves health, say United Methodist music ministers. Read More

John Wesley, a founder of The United Methodist Church, had a special Holy Spirit moment. Photo by Joe Iovino, United Methodist Communications.

Holy Spirit moments: Learning from Wesley at Aldersgate

On Pentecost, Charles Wesley felt a ‘strange palpitation’ of heart. John’s was ‘strangely warmed’ three days later. We too can prepare to hear God speak. Read More

Celebrating Pentecost with your family can be a spiritually fulfilling and great learning experience. Photo from, CC0.

Ideas for celebrating Pentecost at home

From red candles on a cake, to a shared prayer, there are many ways United Methodists can mark the church's birthday with family devotionals. Read More

Candles are lit at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford, England.

A prayer in memory of John Wesley

On the anniversary of his death on March 2, John Wesley is remembered by United Methodists with a special prayer. Read More

Artist's drawing shows sinners seeking repentance at an early Methodist camp meeting. Image in the public domain.

Methodist History: The Mourner’s Bench

Historians say a piece of plain, rustic furniture in early Methodist churches was actually a sacred place of transformation. View

Bishop Elaine Stanovsky gives ashes to a visitor to the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site as part of an act of repentance. File photo by Ginny Underwood.

10 ideas for a more meaningful Ash Wednesday

With a little creativity, you can find ways to observe this holy day that begins Lent in the midst of your ordinary weekday routines. Read More

Westminster's Methodist Central Hall hosts historic events that celebrate the life and ministry of John Wesley, founder of The United Methodist Church. Photos by Joe Iovino, United Methodist Communications.

Serving the world from the heart of London: Methodist Central Hall

In January 1946, the first United Nations General Assembly met in a building constructed to celebrate the life and ministry of John Wesley. Read More

Mike McHargue is the author of ‘Finding God in the Waves,’ and host of podcasts, ‘Ask Science Mike’ and ‘The Liturgists Podcast.’ Photos courtesy of Mike McHargue.

How Science Led from Atheism to Faith with Mike McHargue

Questions and doubts can challenge our faith. United Methodist podcaster and author “Science Mike” shares his journey from belief to atheism, then back to a renewed faith. Listen

Author and professor Paul Chilcote has written a devotional using the Advent and Christmas hymns of Charles Wesley. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Singing our Faith at Christmas with Paul Chilcote

Hymns aren't just for singing! The hymns of Charles Wesley also teach us about our faith and help us draw closer to Christ in this holy season. Listen

The Rev. Ken Sloane invites us to see generosity as an opportunity for joy. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Generosity is Good for the Soul with Ken Sloane

Generosity is not an obligation, but an opportunity to experience the joy of giving to another and connecting with God. Listen

Many wear a sticker to indicate they have voted. Voting is a way Christians can give a voice to their beliefs in government. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Prayer for After Election Day

Now that the ballots in the U.S. presidential election have been counted, here's a prayer from the United Methodist Book of Worship to reflect upon and pray. Read More

The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs by Fra Angelico (15th Century), National Gallery, London. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

All Saints Day: A holy day John Wesley loved

The day after Halloween was a time encouraged by Wesley for Methodists to remember and give thanks for saints gone to glory and those still living. Read More

“The World is My Parish” is inscribed at the base of a statue of John Wesley located in the courtyard outside Wesley's Chapel and John Wesley's house at 49 City Road in London. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

The method of United Methodism: Disciple making yesterday and today

This 3-part series explores The United Methodist Church’s historic process for making disciples of Jesus Christ, which continues today. Read More

Shirley Bachelder, 95, shares in an episode of our podcast how she stays in constant communication with God. Photo by Fran Walsh, United Methodist Communications.

Life Lessons from a 95-year-old United Methodist

Shirley Bachelder teaches us about faith, friendship, prayer, joy, gratitude, and love. Her wisdom will encourage and inspire you. Listen

The window at Lincoln College in Oxford features a depiction of the story of Jonah (2nd from the right) that influenced John Wesley. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Discovering God’s will: John Wesley’s difficult decision

John Wesley set sail for America on October 21, 1735, after a discernment process that included a Bible story and a stained glass window. Read More

Children's Sabbath includes times of celebrating children and reaching out to meet their needs. File photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Why United Methodists observe Children’s Sabbath

Churches mark the Children's Sabbath as a time to renew our commitment to care, protect, and advocate for all children. Read More

Welch's Grape Juice was created by a Methodist as a substitute for communion wine. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Methodist history: Controversy, Communion, & Welch’s Grape Juice

What became a popular grocery item started as a response to concerns at church about alcohol. Read about Dr. Thomas Welch and his recipe's roots. Read More

A statue of John Wesley greets visitors to The New Room in Bristol, England. Photo by Joe Iovino, United Methodist Communications.

The method of Methodism expands: Societies and the New Room

Series continues a look at what happened after the Wesleys left Oxford. See how the small group model shaped the Methodist movement. Part 2 of 3. Read More

Sheila Bates joined us in our studio to record an episode of Get Your Spirit in Shape. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

College, Church and Faith with Sheila Bates

Finding a faith community in college can be challenging. A United Methodist college ministry leader shares helpful tips for students, parents and churches. Listen

Children who are part of a Covenant Discipleship group find support that can last a lifetime. Photo courtesy of Melanie Gordon, Discipleship Ministries.

The method of United Methodism today: Covenant Discipleship

Series continues a look at how the small group model continues to shape United Methodism today. Part 3 of 3. Read More

As a fellow at Lincoln College, John Wesley would have had an office similar to this one dedicated to him. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

The method of early Methodism: The Oxford Holy Club

Beginning of a series about how disciple-making groups that form church leaders have been part of our Methodist heritage from the very start. Part 1 of 3. Read More

Everyday Disciples with Discipleship Ministry leaders

Becoming a Christian is the beginning of a lifelong process of following Jesus. Covenant Discipleship Groups help provide companions for the journey. Listen

Changing Pastors? It’s Going to be Okay with Bob Kaylor

United Methodist pastor and author offers assurance and tips on what to do when your church gets a new pastor. Listen

The Rev. Tonya Elmore, pastor at Enterprise First United Methodist Church, takes communion from the Rev. Virginia Kagoro, pastor at Locust Bluff United Methodist Church. Holy Communion was part of the Service of Remembrance at the 2015 Alabama-West Florida Conference on June 1, where 33 clergy and clergy spouses were memorialized. Photo by Luke Lucas, Alabama-West Florida Conference

An open table: How United Methodists understand communion

The sacrament is such a common part of our worship that its uncommon richness can get lost. Learn more about The Lord's Supper. Read More

We Believe in Prayer with United Methodist bishops

United Methodist bishops share about their prayer initiatives at General Conference, and how prayer enriches our lives every day. Listen

During the breaks at General Conference 2016, United Methodist bishops like Bishop Minerva Carcaño (center) pray with delegates. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

We believe in prayer: Bishops emphasize prayer at General Conference

As spiritual leaders of the church, United Methodist bishops lead several prayer ministries before and during General Conference. Read More

Hannah Foust has raised enough money to build 3 wells in West Africa, and has inspired others to build 13 more. #UMCGC Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.

Called to Serve with Hannah Foust

This 14-year-old knows what it means to be called by God for a purpose. She has raised money to build 3 wells in West Africa, and inspired others to build 13 more. Listen

Intercessory prayer brings people of all ages together. Photo courtesy of Bob Dickson and his daughter Rachel, Madison (Georgia) First United Methodist Church.

“All is prayer”: How words and actions serve God and others

United Methodist ministries prove that intercessory prayer makes a difference for others and in our own spiritual journeys. Read More

Can You Be Social and Spiritual Too? with R. Scott Miller

Have you ever thought of using Facebook to enrich your spiritual life? A United Methodist pastor shares some ideas of how we can! Listen

Raphaël Aboua (right) helps serve Holy Communion at Ebenezer Beago United Methodist Church in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo by Isaac Broune, United Methodist News Service.

Sacraments, Rites and Rituals

Explore how United Methodists understand baptism, communion, rites and rituals other Christian churches view as sacraments. More

At ordination, United Methodist clergy are prayed over, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and authorized by the church for their life and work. Photo by Emily Green, Indiana Conference.

Spirit empowered, church authorized: United Methodist ordination

What does The United Methodist Church teach about ordination? Learn more about the steps and blessings to become a deacon or elder. Read More

Woman displays a set of prayer beads created for General Conference 2016. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

60 Days of Prayer for 2016 General Conference

Prayer effort invites each United Methodist to be part of General Conference. “Our denomination is only as healthy as the prayer life of all our people.” View

Episcopalians and United Methodists share Communion at the U.S. National Cathedral. Photo Melissa Lauber, courtesy the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

United Methodist sacraments, rites and rituals

Some churches recognize 7 sacraments; United Methodists only 2. This series of articles explores each of these important acts in the life of a Christian. More

On Easter Sunday, many United Methodist congregations gather at sunrise to celebrate the resurrection. Photo by Joe Iovino, United Methodist Communications.

Easter sunrise services: A celebration of resurrection

Many United Methodists attend special outdoor worship services early on Easter morning. These celebrations date back to the 1700s, and maybe earlier. Read More

Spiritual director Whitney Simpson teaches how to find and create sacred space in your life. Photo by Cindy Caldwell, United Methodist Communications.

Creating Sacred Spaces with Whitney Simpson

United Methodist spiritual director talks about finding holy places in our everyday lives—even in a 1970s era corduroy chair purchased at a yard sale. Listen

Many common phrases in the English language are based on quotes from Scripture.  File photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

New ideas for exploring Bible passages

Find creative ways to bring a new perspective to Scripture, new life to your study time and new clarity to your teaching. Read More

Authors Jenny Youngman and Kara Oliver have written books to help families begin devotions in the home. Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.

Starting Family Devotions with Kara Oliver and Jenny Youngman

With great stories and laughter, these moms and authors share ways we can celebrate our faith as a family—even a really busy one! Listen

A cross stands at Memorial Drive UMC in Houston, Texas. Photo  by Joe Center.

Beyond fasting: 10 tips for a more meaningful Lent

Study a book of the Bible or read a Wesley sermon. There are lots of ways to be creative and get the most from the season. More

Woman holds candle. Photo by Courtney Carmody, courtesy of Flickr.

Re-energize your prayer life with a new practice

There is no one-size-fits-all for a great prayer life. And practice does make a difference. Read More

Woman sits in park. Photo illustration by Ronny Perry, United Methodist Communications.

40 Days of Lent: Find your own spiritual path

There is no one, right way to observe a holy Lent. These ideas and resources will help you stay on track throughout the season. Read More

When We're Bad at Being Good with J. Brent Bill

Author J. Brent Bill offers tips for those of us who feel like we fail in our spiritual lives, and fear we don't measure up. Listen

The body of 107-year-old Rev. Isaac Momoh Ndanema is led out of church for burial. Often called “Pa Ndanema,” he chose to live simply and served as a peacemaker and social evangelist while encouraging the local language.Phileas Jusu, United Methodist Communications.

God is with us: Blessing the dying and those who grieve

As people come to the end of life, United Methodist pastors offer the strength, hope, and peace of Christ in this difficult yet sacred time. Read More

Ingrid McIntyre receives ashes from street chaplain, Lindsey Krinks. About 30 people gathered as a community to share in the Ash Wednesday liturgy and to raise awareness of those suffering from homelessness and poverty. McIntyre is a member of Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tenn. A file photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Why ashes? Connecting to who we are and who we can be

We see them on Ash Wednesday, but how much do you know about this ancient symbol and its underlying message? Read More

Rings sit on text from the wedding service in the United Methodist Book of Worship. Photo illustration by Fran Walsh, United Methodist Communications.

I do: How United Methodists understand Christian marriage

In weddings and marriage, we celebrate love: the love of the couple, the love of God for us, and the love Christ calls us to share with the world. Read More

Person views screen on a tablet.  Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

7 simple ways your church can give and share thanks

It's a popular topic on social media and a hallmark of our faith, but what about thankfulness as a church activity? Get easy tips to try it. More

Confirmation classes journey together toward their first profession of their intent to live as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. Photo courtesy of Brecksville (Ohio) United Methodist Church.

Beyond baptism: What confirmation means to United Methodists

Confirmation is not a sacrament in The United Methodist Church, but an important step in our journey of faith. Read More

Many connect with God's presence in places other than church.  Photo illustration by Debbie Fielding Wray.

Lessons for church from the ‘spiritual but not religious’

The “religiously unaffiliated” population continues to grow in the U.S. What can Christians learn from the statistics or do to change that trend? Read More

All baptized persons are members of their local church, the denomination, and the church universal. Photo by Mary Catherine Phillips, Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference.

Renewing waters: How United Methodists understand baptism

In baptism, we reject sin and begin our journey as disciples of Jesus Christ. Learn more of what United Methodists teach about the sacrament. Read More

The Rev. Saul Montiel, a U.S. - Mexico border missionary, distributes health kits at the Plaza el Bordo in Tijuana. Montiel led one of the four groups of United Methodist bishops from all over the world who came to visit the U.S. - Mexico border on May 7, 2013. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS; Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS

Stewardship Resources

Find resources for talking to your church about stewardship in all of its forms: giving of time, talents, and resources. Read More

Child grasping the hand of an adult. Image courtesy of Discipleship Ministries.

Nurturing generous living

"Generous living is not just about giving money ... It has to do with the whole of who we are and how we care for our neighbors." Read More

A photo illustration by Mike DuBose, UMNS. Accompanies UMNS story #099. 3/20/12.

Giving as an expression of gratitude

In the season of church stewardship campaigns and pledge drives, Bishop Coyner explains how giving is an act of gratitude, a witness to our faith, and a way of living. Read More

Woman holds candle. Photo by Courtney Carmody, courtesy of Flickr.

United Methodist Prayer for the Migrant Crisis

'Grant us the wisdom to act in a way that turns history upside down.' Committee on Relief asks for solidarity with those fleeing conflict. More

Wesleyan small groups are still effective today. Illustration by Cindy Caldwell, United Methodist Communications.

Growing spiritually through Class Meetings

Members of John Wesley’s groups coached one another toward holiness of heart and life. This series explores how we... Read More

Stylized small group around table. Illustration by Cindy Caldwell.

Overview of Wesleyan Small Groups

Knowing our faith and living it are two separate disciplines. In the first of a series of articles, learn why being part of a Wesleyan small group aids spiritual growth. Read More

The dining hall in Chautaqua Park in Boulder, Colorado, with the Flatirons rock formations behind it. Photo by Hustvedt, Wikimedia Commons. Taken 2008.

Summer retreat ideas for United Methodists

There are many fun sessions to attend and places to go. Find options for planning a learning vacation for your family or church group. Read More

Child prays at Silver Spring United Methodist Church in Maryland.  Video image courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

United Methodist Children on Prayer

“I might need more paper because I pray for a lot of people.” Hear how little ones approach God and what we can learn from them. View

Members of Luz del Pueblo pray together. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Olinda Salazar-Veliz.

Too busy to pray? See tips to find more time

Many of us want to improve our prayer life, but struggle to find time. These practical pointers can help prioritize prayer. More

Scenic photo of Epworth by the Sea, the Christian retreat center in St. Simons Island, Ga. Photo by Diane Degnan, United Methodist Communications.

Bible verses on Creation care: A discussion starter

Care of the planet is not just a topic in the news. ‘Relationship with God and…the earth are very prevalent in the Bible.’ Read More

Lenten Rose photo by Lynn Whitt/Shutterstock.

40 Ideas for Keeping Lent Holy

Find concrete suggestions for practices you can take on for each day of Lent. More

Simplicity: A Lenten Path

Suggestions for following a path of simplicity during your Lenten journey. More

Kathryn Mitchem at Penuel Ridge retreat center in Ashland City, Tenn. Photo by Mike DuBose, Interpreter.

Lent: Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There!

"Lent offers an invitation to the practice of stillness where, amid the bustle of our days, we can pause to let God take the measure of our lives." More

The Miracles of Jesus, an online Lenten retreat

Author Wessel Bentley invites you to consider the needs, challenges, hurts, or hopes you share with the people Jesus healed and transformed. More

Fork and knife against white background. Photo by Bjorgvin Gudmundsson /

What does The United Methodist Church say about fasting?

There is a strong biblical base for fasting, and the practice has been a part of Methodism from its early beginnings. Read More

Prayer involves action; namely being attentive to God's voice in your life. Listening for God means stopping and sitting still. It means paying attention to what God may be saying to you at any point in your life. Photo by Ronny Perry, United Methodist Communications.

Lent: A Time to Fast and Pray

Faithful Christians are advised to see fasting as a devotion, not an imposition. Read More

The Rev. Jerry Herships (left) shares sandwiches in ministry to the hungry and homeless as part of outreach of AfterHours Denver

Becoming Disciples

As disciples, we are not passive spectators but energetic participants in God’s activity in the world. Read More

Faith is a journey. Photo of backpacker hiking in Montgomery  Bell State Park in Tenn. by Mike DuBose.

Our Faith Journey

Faith does not happen overnight. It’s a journey. From birth to death we’re growing in faith. Read More