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Methodists looking for “Another Way” – How should we respond?

Recent changes in the Methodist Church in the UK have caused many Bible believing Christians some heartache. A large number no longer feel at home within a group that has been home for many years- in some cases all their lives. As a regional coordinator I get to speak at different independent gospel churches across North England and a number of those churches have benefitted from this. People who have for years been Methodist are leaving their churches to join churches that have a clearer gospel emphasis. In some cases, whole congregations have come out of Methodism and are now independent and looking for fellowship and support. I do not write this to be provocative but only as an observation based on my own experience and echoed by others across the country as we visit different fellowships.

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this and put forward some suggestions as to how we approach those who are going through this turmoil. So let me get on with it…

  • With thankfulness. People who are making this change are not doing it lightly or carelessly. Their decisions have been made for gospel reasons and they are often hungry for teaching and fellowship. The presence of people like this will be a great blessing and encouragement to an existing fellowship
  • With grace. Believers who have made this transition have usually been in churches where there have had to tolerate liberal teaching for a length of time. It takes time to readjust and there may be differences in practice and thinking that need to be worked through. Good leaders will work these things through with people and reason from the scriptures to win their brothers and sisters over- or sometimes simply to learn from them. It is foolish to assume that our own church practices will always be best.
  • As growing disciples. Welcome, nurture and an encouragement to spiritual growth and activity should be encouraged. Background may be different but that has never been a marker for godliness. Paul describes his religious background as worthless compared to knowing Christ, while Peter reminds all of us that we were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to us from our forefathers. There is every reason to hope that these men and women will be great servants of Jesus Christ and of His church.
  • Pray for them. Ultimately God is the one who we want to guide and mould people’s lives. His Spirit is the great comforter, the one who testifies to the truth concerning Jesus. Our churches need to be places where God’s truth is spoken and lived out so that He can bring the transformations that bring glory to Christ.

Andy Dykes

Partnership Regional Co-ordinator (Northwest)

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