Welcome to Trinity United Methodist Church!
John Wesley liked to quote an ancient Christian writer on how disciples are made: "It was a common saying among the Christians of the primitive church, 'The soul and the body make a person. The Spirit and discipline make a Christian.' - implying that none could be real Christians without the help of Christian discipline." He wanted Methodists to be "aware that they lived their lives in the presence of God, and at the same time in the midst of a world in which God had been forgotten." The purpose of Christian discipline is freedom to "have the mind that was in Christ" and to "walk just as Christ walked" (Philippians 2:5 & 1 John 2:6). Discipline equips us to cooperate with the Holy Spirit's work in our heart and life.
Discipline is part of discipleship because following Jesus Christ in the world is a craft that must be learned. It's like being a musician. The discipline of learning and practice with experienced teachers allows you to become free to love like Jesus. For example, I am not free to make music on a piano because I know nothing about how to play the instrument. But if I were to find a teacher, commit to learning with him or her the basics of playing the piano, and practice those basics every day, then I would gain some freedom to make music. This discipline sets me free to make music I was not free to make before.
John Wesley believed "discipline" to mean spiritual disciplines taught and practiced by Jesus. They are practices that open our hearts to grace and equip us to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the formation of holiness of heart and life. Christian discipline consisted of loving God (acts of worship and devotion) and loving what God loves (acts of compassion and justice).
The General Rule of Discipleship is a guide for living the Christian life together. It has deep roots in the Wesleyan tradition:
To witness to Jesus Christ in the world, and to follow his teaching through acts of compassion, justice, worship, and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Join me in exploring this rule of life for disciple-making. I believe it is a practical guide for helping the congregation live into our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Grace and Peace,
John Wesley, Sermon 122, "Causes of the Inefficacy of Christianity," ¶ 7, in Sermons IV, ed. Albert C. Outler, vol. 4 of The Bicentennial Edition of the Works of John Wesley (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1976-), 90. Henry H. Knight, III, The Presence of God in the Christian Life: John Wesley and the Means of Grace (Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1992), 96.