By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34b-35). The General Rule tells us that discipleship is a relationship with Christ. Let us for this faith contend,Sure salvation is the end;Heaven already is begun,Everlasting life is won.Only let us persevereTill we see our Lord appear,Never from the Rock remove,Saved by faith with works by love. In this article I will look at how Christians love God with all their heart, soul, and mind (see Matthew 22:37-39) through practicing what John Wesley called “works of piety.” In the General Rule of Discipleship these practices are referred to as acts of worship and devotion. Christians are commanded by Christ to care for the vulnerable, voiceless, and outcast by alleviating their suffering and to be the voices asking why. When you fast you empty yourself and become more aware of your dependence upon God’s good gifts of food and drink that sustain your life. In summary, congregations seeking to participate in God’s mission in the world by forming mission-shaped disciples of Jesus Christ need a rule of life. It is a contemporary adaptation of the General Rules that describes the balanced discipleship needed to form leaders in discipleship the church needs for its disciple-making mission. Through praise, confession, Scripture, proclamation, prayer, giving, confession, thanksgiving, sacrament, and blessing the Christian community builds one another up in love and offers itself in service to God and the world that God loves. One of many highlights of last week’s annual meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society was a conversation I had with Michael G. Cartwright about a new resource on the “General Rules.” Cartwright and Andrew D. Kinsey have developed “Watching Over One Another in Love: Reclaiming the Wesleyan Rule of Life for the Church’s Mission” which is a 28 day day study of the “General Rules.” A witness has personal knowledge and experience of a person, place, thing, or event and is prepared to give evidence. With these acts, we grow in our ability to love God with all our heart, soul and mind; and our neighbors as ourselves. They were developed by John Wesley in 1743 as guidelines for membership in the Methodist societies. It is the “who” of the local church. When you get outside your comfort zone to spend time with Christ he opens your heart to grace. To participate in mission is to participate in the movement of God’s love toward people, since God is a fountain of sending love” (David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, page 390). Reclaim Sabbath: A Rule Of Life. General Rule of Discipleship Witness to Jesus Christ in the world … The acts of worship and devotion are God’s gifts to us. When someone’s loved one dies, you go and comfort him. Mission describes the congregation’s identity. They are what you do with a person who needs help. As they keep Christ at the center, faithful disciples follow the teachings about Jesus no less than the teachings of Jesus. Over time, as the group meets and relationships of love and trust are formed, group members develop as leaders in discipleship for the congregation. The goal is to move Christians towards maturity in love, what John Wesley called “holiness of heart and life.” As they habitually practice works of piety (loving God) and works of mercy (loving who God loves) holy habits are formed (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; Galatians 5:22-23), resulting in love filling the heart and governing the life. Your love is shaped by your habits. Grace and responsibility are key components of Wesleyan Christianity. They grow closer to Christ as they grow closer to one another. These questions tell us that leaders in the Wesleyan tradition are persons whose lives are shaped by the rule of life developed by John Wesley for the people called Methodists. God is relational. Jesus tells us to feed the hungry. Reading and meditating on the Scriptures often leads into time in prayer. Witnesses to Jesus Christ in the world are formed, equipped, and supported best in small groups with other witnesses. The Wesleyan Church is an evangelical Protestant denomination, based on the Methodist theology of John Wesley.The American Wesleyan Church was formed in 1843 to take a firm stand against slavery. We will promote a community that is free from harassment, where independent opinions are supported and respected, and differences are celebrated. The mission of Residential Life at Wesleyan calls for us to stand up and speak out for social justice, empowerment, respect, and acceptance of all people. Honor God’s name. 13300 Olio Road Fishers, Indiana 46037 Contact. Stay in love with God. These rules were reinterpreted in a short piece by Bishop Rueben Job, Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living (Abingdon, 2007). This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. Reminding them of all Jesus taught them and equipping them to proclaim and live his Good News of God’s reign of love, righteousness, and justice. On April 2, 1739, the day he first preached outdoors he recorded in his journal. Fasting also places you in solidarity with the people of the earth for whom fasting is not a choice. To live as his witnesses in the world requires us to participate in a congregation devoted to doing all in its power to increase our faith, confirm our hope in Christ, and to perfect us in love. Acts of devotion keep the heart open to grace that keeps you centered in Christ and what he is up to in your life. They are seen as curiosities or light entertainment, but not taken seriously. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets’ (Matthew 22:37-40). At the heart of Methodism is the uniting of vital piety and social holiness. Followers of Jesus are charged with getting at the causes of our neighbor’s suffering. It is the reason for church’s existence. When people meet you through acts of compassion and justice they get a glimpse of Jesus. In addition to being an evangelical renewal movement for the Church, the Methodist movement was also a Eucharistic renewal movement. Disciples grow in loving God (the cross' vertical axis) through practicing acts of worship and devotion. It is open and inclusive, welcoming to all where they are, as they are. Only the Holy Spirit, working in them by grace, makes discipleship and subsequent growth in holiness of heart and life possible. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. ): “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). The General Rule of Discipleship (To witness to Jesus Christ in the world, and to follow his teachings through acts of compassion, justice, worship, and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.) Only grace leads you to Christ and keeps you with him. Best-known for the classic book, Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living, he also authored or co-authored A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants, A Wesleyan Spiritual Reader, Living Fully, Dying Well, Listen, and co-edited Finding Our Way: Love and Law in The United Methodist Church. We accomplish this by practicing the Rule of Discipleship with personal acts of compassion and devotion; and communal acts of justice and worship. In worship the church lifts the world and itself to God in prayer. We discover freedom that is not only freedom from sin, but a freedom that is positive fulfillment in God. As you cooperate with that grace to obey all of Jesus’ commands grace flows through you for others and for the world. Love as practiced by Jesus is much more than passionate affection for a lover or friend. This acknowledges that disciples, and the church, are to be for the world. Charles Wesley describes Jesus’ self-emptying love in the third stanza of his great hymn, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain,”. He believed it to be a very important practice because Jesus fasted and taught his disciples to do the same (Matthew 6:16-18). John Wesley knew very well the blessings and challenges of living as a witness to Jesus Christ in the world. Christians come to worship to experience God’s presence and power, to be forgiven, eat and drink Christ’s body and blood, and sent into the world to serve as Christ’s witnesses. …. Many conferences have sent copies of it to every pastor and congregation as a means to recover the three general rules of early Methodist societies. If you have been forwarded this article and are interested in subscribing to Thrive in 5, click here. Dr. Virginia Holeman | Third, stay in love with God. The Spirit will be their teacher. They agree to meet weekly to "watch over one another in love." In Wesleyan tradition polity is more like a rule of life than a rule book. This mission requires each local congregation to put it into practice. The word translated in the NRSV as “Advocate” is the Greek word Paraclete. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Epigraphs for each of the three chapters are taken from Psalms and the New Testament. For more on the mental health benefits of gratitude see this article: For more on how to nurture forgiveness see this article about a robust way to reach forgiveness of others developed by Everett Worthington, Jr., PhD and his colleagues. Witnesses are sometimes welcomed. John Wesley’s primary focus was upon the doctrine of salvation and the relationship between grace, faith, and holiness of heart and life. Thus helping more members live as mission-shaped disciples of Jesus Christ. It distills the General Rules down to a single, straightforward statement that can be easily memorized: To witness to Jesus Christ in the world and to follow his teachings through acts of compassion, justice, worship, and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Rueben P. Job, retired bishop of The United Methodist Church, uses John Wesley's three general rules to give Christians a blueprint for a faithful life in a new book, Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living, published by the United Methodist Publishing House. The congregation must then provide a system of small groups that help professing members practice doing no harm, doing good, and attending upon all the ordinances of God. His preaching was received as good news by some while many listened with indifferent curiosity. Pastors. Acts of compassion are personal works of mercy. “Ponder and amuse oneself”… “Following rules puts you back under the old law” According to Wesley’s inspiring life, I doubt he expected people to take these instructions as amusing ponderings. Christians learn how to stop resisting Christ’s grace when they meet weekly in his name for mutual accountability and support for living as his witnesses in the world. Christ suffers for them every day. He initiates and consecrates his relationship with you and me in the sacrament of baptism. Christians are witnesses to Jesus Christ because they know him, experience his love, and testify to what he is up to in their lives, in the church, and in the world. Rather, the General Rule points toward Jesus and provides guidance for the Christian life by reminding you of his teachings and how to do them (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:46-49). On the other hand, it was not uncommon for his audience to throw stones and garbage at Wesley, and other Methodist preachers, while witnessing to Christ and salvation by grace through faith. They are both personal and social. delivered to your inbox byWesleyan Publishing House& The Wesleyan Church, Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way, Thrive In 5-The Practice of Emotional Wellness (Emotional). When someone is a stranger in the congregation or your home you extend hospitality. 24-Hour Retreat Guide. I pray because I’m helpless. The profaning the day of the Lord, either by doing ordinary work therein or by buying or selling. Blockages to grace are removed when Christians meet weekly to watch over one another in love, to pray for one another, to sing hymns of praise to our Lord, to give an account of what they have done to witness to Jesus Christ in the world. In the context of discipleship, the grace of Christ enables you to make Christ's interests your own. The agenda for the weekly meeting is a covenant shaped by the General Rule. The General Rules are found in every edition ofThe Book of Discipline. At four in the afternoon, I submitted to be more vile and proclaimed in the highways the glad tidings of salvation, speaking from a little eminence in a ground adjoining to the city, to about three thousand people. Wesley practiced fasting at least one day a week for most of his life. Christian History provides quality articles about the history of the Christian Church and is the official site of Christian History Magazine. He also gives them the power of the Holy Spirit to inspire and guide them along the way. To this end, Bishop Reuben P. Job’s book Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living (Abingdon Press, 2007) has been widely endorsed as a “blueprint” for the Wesleyan way of living. ‘It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church.’ Mission is thereby seen as a movement from God to the world; the church is viewed as an instrument for that mission. The General Rule of Discipleship concisely describes the habits required of mission-shaped disciples. . This is the third article on the General Rule of Discipleship that shapes the covenant that serves as the agenda for a Covenant Discipleship group’s weekly meeting: To witness to Jesus Christ in the world, and to follow his teachings through acts of compassion, justice, worship, and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They are performed by you and others united with the church and other institutions working for the common good. 2. At times witnessing to Jesus Christ and his gospel of God’s coming reign is not welcome. They open our hearts to the grace we need to join Christ’s mission in the world through acts of compassion and justice. Discipleship is not primarily about the enjoyment of personal blessings. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” He then breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22). It does not tell you what to do, or not do. The rules thus laid down constituted a “new Term of Communion,” and those who would not abide by them were to be literally excommunicated, or barred from taking the Lord’s Supper. Acts of justice are social works of mercy. Their love for God is revealed in the ways they love who God loves: people who are poor, hungry, sick, prisoners, homeless, strangers, outcasts, lonely, and hopeless. Reading and meditating upon devotional classics or a resource like “The Upper Room” helps to center the day in Christ. It aims to help disciples to keep Christ at the center of all they do as they conduct themselves in their home, workplace, recreation, and the church. Every United Methodist should know them and be able to recite them by heart. Executive Summary of the Wesleyan Clergy Wellbeing Data. Christians witness to Jesus Christ in the world by following his teachings. It begins by acknowledging that a disciple is one who is a witness to Jesus Christ. Do good. . He left his Father’s throne above,So free, so infinite his grace;Emptied himself of all but love,And bled for Adam’s helpless race;‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;For, O my God, it found out me. Second, do good. Jesus describes the Spirit’s work in John 14:15-17 & 26, ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. Marjorie Thompson, in her wonderful book, Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life, writes “A rule of life is a pattern of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness. Jesus’ knew his disciples would face fear and opposition. Charles Wesley beautifully summarizes the outcome of the life described by the General Rule: Let us plead for faith alone,Faith which by our works is shown;God it is who justifies,Only faith the grace applies.Active faith that lives within,Conquers hell and death and sin,Hallows whom it first made whole,Forms the Savior in the soul. They are basic practices that enable us to participate in our relationship with Christ. When congregations implement the simple steps, they will fulfill their mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. They are what Christians do together when they gather in Christ’s name. Wesley called these new heart-habits “holy tempers.” You know them as “fruit of the Spirit:” love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23a). You become a channel of God’s love. 3. This meant being faithful in the worship of God through praise, prayer, word, sacrament, and service. Pastors. People pay it little or no attention. In 1968, the Wesleyan Methodist Church merged with the Pilgrim Holiness Church to form the Wesleyan Church. He had what emergents and new (and old) monastics call a “rule of life.”. A “Lodestone” is a magnet. Pastors. He gave one of the best definitions and rationales for prayer: "I pray [A1] because I can’t help myself. Toll-Free Clergy Care Number—800-53PASTOR. Write letters to elected representatives, call them on the telephone, sign petitions, march, protest, be a well-informed voter, and volunteer to serve on a social justice campaign (Bread for the World, Amnesty International, One, Red, GBCS, etc.). information@wesleyan.org (317) 774-7900 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. When you habitually obey Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself by practicing acts of compassion and justice his grace works in you; helping you to love like him and become more and more like Jesus. Mission “is not primarily an activity of the church, but an attribute of God. Jesus himself tells us, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15 & 15:14). For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. . It is much more about walking and serving with Christ who is at work in the world, particularly among the poor, the sick, the outcasts, and prisoners. An emotional rule of life is an adaptation that focuses on an intentional commitment to develop healthier, more Christ-like emotional habits so that you can be more present to God, others, and of course, yourself. He is always there. Often when Wesley’s story is told, we stake everything on the Aldersgate experience. The Holy Spirit is, therefore, Christ’s presence working in the disciple to remind you of his commands to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, love your neighbor as yourself, and love your fellow disciples as Christ loves. Works of Mercy: Acts of Compassion & Justice. The rules from Wesley, the founder of Methodism, are simple: "Do no harm. Wesley encouraged Methodists to give alms to the poor when they fast. Pastors. Wesley wanted the Methodist people to be “salt and light” for the Church. The General Rule of Discipleship aims to help disciples maintain balance between works of piety and works of mercy, the personal and social practices of Christian discipline. Holiness is horizon expanding. There is church because there is mission, not vice versa. It is easily memorized and shared with others. Your Covenant Discipleship group helps you make sure you show up daily to keep your appointment with Christ. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website. I'm a Wesleyan and am familiar with the Discipline. Blog Education & Clergy Development Thrive in 5 Thriving Clergy. The Holy Spirit will be with them and in them. That is why he appeared to them saying, “Peace be with you. Thirdly, a disciple follows Jesus by imitating him. It is also listening to preaching and interpretation of Scripture by preachers and teachers. The General Rule of Discipleship concisely describes the habits required of mission-shaped disciples. Thirdly: By attending upon all the ordinances of God; such are: Today these General Rules are the rule of life for every United Methodist congregation. Lewis. Do good. Mission is more than what the church does. It sets the church apart from other institutions and organizations. … It fosters gifts of the Spirit in personal life and human community, helping to form us into the persons God intends us to be.” This means a rule of life gives Christians the basic practices that help them to live missional lives. 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