Campaign reflects United Methodist response to God’s call
The Bible teaches that although human beings differ in many ways, what we share as a church is much greater.
In two passages, the Apostle Paul writes that we are designed to fit together as one body with many parts (see Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12). In our United Methodist communion liturgy, we pray “that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood” (UMHymnal, p 10).
A diverse church
The United Methodist Church has congregations on four continents: Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. As you can imagine, that means we celebrate a variety of languages, traditions, cultures, worship styles and more.
Even within some United Methodist congregations there are differences in styles of worship, languages, classes and small groups offered. Yet we are one body in Christ.
At this moment, many are focused on our differences, especially around the issues of same-sex marriage, LGBTQ ordination and the ways we read and understand the Bible. In an attempt toward resolution, our United Methodist bishops have called a special session of General Conference for February 2019.
Despite our differences, we share a single purpose, mission and heritage as United Methodists.
United Methodist Communications has created a series of resources that celebrate all that unifies us as United Methodists. The series is called “The Movement Continues.”
“This campaign is an important reminder that God calls us in various ways,” shares Dan Krause, chief executive of United Methodist Communications, “and we have responded throughout the church’s history, up until the present day and into the future. Our call does not change.”
The series of free, downloadable resources, which can be shared on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, draws attention to our common call, even when we might express it differently.
One of the resources emphasizes how United Methodists are “moved to love.” Another’s focus is how we are “moved to pray.” Others highlight how we are moved to heal, share, serve, praise, build, connect, grow, study, teach and worship.
The resources are careful, however, to recognize our diversity within what we hold in common. “Moved to study,” for example, is illustrated with a picture of children studying a schoolbook in one resource, while another shows an older adult studying. “Moved to serve” is depicted with people serving food in one, with a health clinic in another, and a foot washing in a third.
The Movement Continues
The campaign also draws upon our rich heritage as United Methodists. The language of movement is used because we have always been a people on the move.
Methodism began as a movement in England decades before we became a church in the United States in 1784. John Wesley and others shared the good news of Jesus Christ in fields, markets, homes, and wherever people gathered.
Many of our first pastors were “circuit riders,” preachers who traveled from place to place. Soon after becoming a church, we began to travel the globe to share the love of Jesus.
Today, we build churches, health clinics and schools around the world. We bring help and healing to people suffering after natural disasters. We share physical and spiritual nutrition with those in our communities.
Our response to God’s call continues
Throughout our rich history and continuing today, United Methodists’ goal has been to help one another live and grow as disciples of Jesus Christ (see our Book of Discipline). Our new resources urge us to continue in this work:
The foundation of The United Methodist Church has always been to follow God’s call of making disciples of Jesus Christ. We do that in many ways and many places. Yesterday. Today. Forever.
We may not be able to predict the future of The United Methodist Church, but we can be certain that God continues to call us in our disciple-making work. So let’s celebrate how God is moving us to grow together as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Use these resources
Please use these resources. Post your favorite to your social media feeds. Use one as a wallpaper for your phone. Share them with members of your choir, church committee, Sunday School class, small group, Bible study and others. Tell your pastor about them and see if there are ways your church could add them to their newsletter, bulletin, website or worship slideshow.
While there are plenty of things about United Methodists that vary, like language, culture, and traditions, what we share is greater. As Scripture reminds us in another use of the image of a body:
You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.
Ephesians 4:4-6 CEB