Our Wesleyan Discipleship: the Rule of Discipleship and Means of Grace
At the heart of Methodism is the uniting of vital piety and social holiness. We accomplish this by practicing the Rule of Discipleship with personal acts of compassion and devotion; and communal acts of justice and worship. With these acts, we grow in our ability to love God with all our heart, soul and mind; and our neighbors as ourselves. As a vital part of our spiritual journey, we practice the means of grace, which include Bible study, prayer, fasting, healthy living, celebrating Communion, visiting the sick and those in prison, feeding the hungry, seeking justice, working to end oppression, and more. In these practices, God works in and through us.
- Article: We have compiled a collection of articles that explore the General Rules; Congregational Rule of Life; Witnessing; Acts of Compassion and Justice; Acts of Devotion and Worship; the Guidance of the Holy Spirit; and the means of grace.
- Scripture: Mark 12:28-34
Small Group Session Agenda
Eternal Word whose love never fails: thank You for the gift of Your Presence and for allowing Your breath to flow through Your creation. In this moment, inspire our ways of learning through earnest fervent prayer and let our daily living reveal You everywhere. Transform the yearnings of Your people through the power of Your Holy Spirit and grant us the strength and wisdom needed to enact the changes You will for each one of us this day. Let Your will be ours. We ask it all in the Name of Jesus, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
In the gift of this moment, we affirm that we are divinely loved and lovable.
We are the children of God.
Together, we will learn from the actions and words of one another.
Christ’s lessons on love are centered in how we treat others and in how we treat ourselves.
We will exercise courage in this study as we share stories of struggle and strength.
We will stay at the table and receive those stories with grace.
We will not be afraid to launch into the deep.
We will commit to the vulnerability necessary to allow God to break us open.
We will set and respect boundaries and honor confidentiality together.
When uncertainty arises, we will remember the Spirit of “peace that passes our own understanding” and can intercede for us.
We will remember that even when we don’t feel “United,”
The uniting love of Christ can reveal a pathway to greater
wisdom and mutual respect.
No matter what, there is a place for each one of us in this study together.
Let us hold each other up in prayer, hold each other accountable in love, and
trust that our God is making all things new.
Thank you for the gift of being present to one another in this holy time.
Video with Rev. Jessica Hayden and Rev. Travis Knoll
Rev. Hayden is pastor of Old Otterbein UMC in Baltimore, Md., and chairperson of the Conference Discipleship Council.
Rev. Knoll is pastor of Hunt’s Memorial UMC in Riderwood, Md.
Head & Heart Discussion
- Reflect on the Great Commandment in Mark 12:29-31. What are some of the most powerful ways you’ve seen this recently lived out? How do these stories include elements of Wesley’s Means of Grace?
- Wesley’s Rule of Discipleship includes personal acts of devotion and compassion, and communal acts of worship and justice. For John Wesley, each was essential for well-formed discipleship under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In what ways does this “method” of faith influence your experience of loving God and loving neighbor?
- Give an example of ways your love of God has caused you to confront injustice. How can we move beyond an intellectual understanding of our faith and into a lived daily practice of accountable discipleship?
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us —
yes, establish the work of our hands. So be it, Amen. – Psalm 90:17
BEYOND THIS SESSION
Prayer and Pathway to Journaling
In your journal this week, we invite you to answer the traditional questions below. We also invite you to dig more deeply into discipleship.
- Communal Means of Grace include acts of worship (like celebrating the sacraments, Christian conferencing, and Bible study) and acts of justice (which include actions to seek God’s shalom and to end oppression and discrimination). Which of these is your faith community doing well? Which do you celebrate? And which, in your opinion, are your church’s growing edges?
- Individual Means of Grace include acts of devotion (like reading, meditating, fasting, healthy living, and sharing our faith with others) and acts of compassion (like doing good works, visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, and more). Which of these acts do you do well? Which are your growing edges?
- As you reflect upon acts of worship, justice, devotion, and compassion, what thoughts arise that will help you to grow in discipleship?
- During this session, what surprised you or caught your attention?
- How does the discussion we had apply to your life, your church, our denomination?
- Where is the Spirit revealing to you areas for growth and transformation?
- How does what we talked about transform your relationship with God and others?
- Write a prayer to ask for God’s support and enlightenment, which applies what you learned, and then go forth and live it.
- Book: Five Means of Grace by Elaine A. Heath. Learn about “experiencing God’s love the Wesleyan Way” on a discipleship pathway.
- Movie: Babette's Feast, 1987
- Hymn: Go, Make of All Disciples #571
- John Wesley Sermon: “The Means of Grace.”