If People Can't Tell You're a Methodist, Calling Yourself One Won't Make it So

Last week I wrote a post titled Are We Hiding our United Methodist Affiliation. It generated a bunch of comments, including one from Mark Beeson (Granger's senior pastor). He is an elder in the United Methodist church and has studied the history of the Methodist movement for some forty years...so I thought his words were insightful. See if you agree...

 By Mark Beeson

This is a very interesting post.

The topic is a hot one. The debate ongoing…

I’ve always been fascinated with the authenticity of branding. Do denominations strive for a new identity with their brand, or do they advertise the reality they are? Is the brand no more than a reflection of image management? Is the brand about “truth in advertising,” or does it reveal our wishful thinking?

Early “Methodists” didn’t label themselves as such. Their methodical disciplines (stopping for prayer every hour, methodically giving, serving, meeting together, worshipping and studying in regular patterns) caused others to call them “Methodists.” The name/brand was originally a term of mocking and derision.

I’ve often thought, “If people can’t tell you’re a Methodist, calling yourself one won’t make it so.” The moniker did not originate as a self-promoting badge of honor. It was proffered as a descriptor indicating a person’s determination to live with methodical holiness and discipline.

Since I’ve never seen anyone drift into greatness, I’m committed to methodical training and practice. I’ve never seen anyone (or any church) drift toward high-impact, world-changing ministry. I believe the life I offer Christ will be most efficacious if I methodically practice the disciplines of holiness and service.

I’m all for methods of ministry that advance Christ’s Kingdom.

I’m persuaded: The more “Methodists” live lives deserving the name, the more we’ll be cooperating with our Lord’s plan for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

However you decide to brand it, a denomination’s/church’s/individual’s ultimate impact on society may depend on “methods” – or lack thereof – rather than the names, signs and symbols they deploy.

That’s my two cents worth…

Where do you agree or disagree with Mark?

Tim Stevens4 Comments