THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
“CHURCH” MEANS A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS TO A LOT OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE
WHAT IF CHURCH WASN’T A BUILDING, A GROUP OF PEOPLE, OR AN EXPERIENCE?
WHAT IF IT WAS A RESULT OF THEM?
WE DON’T THINK CHURCH IS A NOUN AT ALL.
WE BELIEVE IT’S A VERB.
Jesus said that his followers would be marked, and known, by their love. and that’s why we believe that church is love enacted. But, this isn’t a new idea. The earliest followers of Jesus were not defined by what happened in their space, but by how they lived and acted in the public square.
At Bend Church, we want to share our hope in Jesus with more people, but we don’t expect strangers to knock on our doors and beg to sit in our pews. Instead, we believe the church grows itself by giving of itself, offering hope to a weary world.
Then those who’ve experienced the forgiveness and mercy of God gather as a community of hope—committed to worship together, practice spiritual disciplines and study Scripture. These are all ways we respond to the grace of God we’ve experienced, not how we earn it.
When “church” is a verb, when it’s love enacted, we live out what we’ve learned from following Jesus wherever we live, work and play.
Methodist Founder John Wesley called this active engagement of humanity “social holiness.” By inviting others into their lives, including those who were isolated or marginalized, disciples of Jesus, Wesley maintained, would grow in their own commitment to Christ.
Wesley taught —
DO ALL THE GOOD YOU CAN. BY ALL THE MEANS YOU CAN. IN ALL THE WAYS YOU CAN. IN ALL THE PLACES YOU CAN. AT ALL THE TIMES YOU CAN. TO ALL THE PEOPLE YOU CAN. AS LONG AS EVER YOU CAN.
(From the RETHINK CHURCH initiative of United Methodist Communications.)