I have just returned from an awesome retreat with Rev. Dr. Steven W Manskar. The focus of the retreat was his book “Understanding John Wesley’s : A Plain Account of Christian Perfection. Rev Manskar highlighted the Wesley Covenant groups and examined the Works of Mercy and the Works of Piety. This was shaped around Mark 12: 29-30 to form the Wesley Plan of Discipleship.

Mark 12
29″The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

This text formed the center of Discipleship and arrows pushed out from the center. Our first responsibility is to love God. No holds barred but this demands inward work. This is what Wesley calls the Works of Piety.

The Works of Piety are:
• Prayer
• Worship
• The Lord’s Supper
• Scripture
• Christian Conference/Small groups
• Fasting/Abstinence

Our inward search for understanding also demands an outward response which Wesley calls The Works of Mercy. The Works of Mercy are:
• Feed the hungry
• Clothe the naked
• Shelter the homeless
• Welcome the strangers
• Care for the Sick
• Visit the prisoners
• Be peacemaker
• Witness to Christ in the world

Wesley was writing about this back in 18th Century. He is the great reformer of the Anglican church but his radical practical theology of his time is the foundation to which Methodist have to return if the current trends that are contributing to the decline of the UMC church are to change.

Top three take always from this retreat are:
1. Institute covenant groups as the life blood of your congregation
2. Set membership and leadership expectations and enforce them
3. Return to table fellowship and the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis

Rev. Dr. Steven Manskar is the Director of Accountable Discipleship – smanskar@gbod.org, 877- 899- 2780. If you are a UMC Pastor struggling with revitalization or church renewal begin by studying the foundations of Wesley’s Movement.

Revitalized for the Journey

Rev. William T Chaney Jr
West Baltimore UMC
5130 Greenwich Ave
Baltimore, MD 21702
410 945 8397