united methodist church worship

What are distinctive marks of worship in the Wesleyan tradition?

This is a question which will be considered, along with others in a conversation that will be taking place this week at Resurrection around the theme – What does 21st century worship look like? I believe that this conversation will have implications in the services here and may have effects wider than this local congregation.

Some auxiliary questions may be:

  1. Why do we do what we do in worship?
  2. What do we want to keep in worship and carry forward?
  3. What is okay to release from worship at this time?
  4. What, if anything, makes worship in a United Methodist Church different from a congregational church, presybyterian or other denomination?

My first response to these questions was that an understanding of the means of grace is something distinct from the Wesleyan tradition that has implications for worship.

How would you respond to some of these questions?

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

6 replies on “What are distinctive marks of worship in the Wesleyan tradition?”


Thanks for raising these great questions.

I posted a lengthy response to the issues you have raised on my blog this morning, you are welcomed to check that out if you want to read more.

Here are the distinct marks of Wesleyan worship that I came up with:

1- Weekly Communion
2- Love Feast
3- Accountability for growth in grace
4- singing excellent hymns that are relevant musically to the people who are singing them and have lyrics that enable to gospel to come to life in individual souls

For what it is worth, that is what I came up with as a first stab at these questions.

1. Communion (and I do agree it should be weekly)
2. The reading of Scripture
3. Relevant preaching and teaching
4. Relevant participatory Singing
5. The invitation to the little church (small groups)

Absolutely outstanding topic to discuss. I hope more comment.

Kevin – Thanks for your comments. I used those four as the basis for the short presentation yesterday. Look for more soon.

Mark – I appreciate the addition of invitation to small groups. As Kevin has noted before, accountability and small groups is a key part of the Methodist movement.

As I read these lists, I would add one more: The liturgical calendar – – hear me out. Moving through the seasons of Lent and Advent, Christmas and Easter, Christmastide and Eastertide, Epiphany, Pentecost and Ordinary times (list not exhaustive, I’m sure)… This is a key component of worship. Observance connects us to the Church worldwide and the Church historical. It is a holistic and communal way for us to stay connected to – well- why we do what we do.
ps. we can do this in fun and fresh ways 🙂

Nikki – Thanks for the reminder of the liturgical calendar. I think you are right it is an important way for us to connect with the church across time and place. A search for fresh ways of worship in response to the good news of Jesus Christ is the task of the church in every age.

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