"Free"quently Asked Questions ...
Free Methodists are enthusiastic in worship, holy in lifestyle, insistent for justice and passionate in their evangelism.
Is church even important?
Are you kidding? We choose to join with each other, and mystically become the body of Christ. In fact, we cannot be the body of Christ by ourselves: the mystery requires others; it requires mutual submission; it requires peace making; and it requires a purpose together.This organic group to whom we pledge ourselves will participate in the pilgrimage of life with us. If you don't "do" church, you don’t "do" the body of Christ.
But I don’t like Denominations!
Anything more than one local church working by itself is a denomination. You can call it a “network” or a “family of churches” if you like, but it’s really just a selfless way to work together…we can do things together than we can’t do separately and we can help each other along the way.
What’s Special about Free Methodists?
We think that God’s renewal can penetrate into the very core of our beings: that we really can love God with our whole being; that we really can love our neighbors as ourselves; that we can be cleaned, not just dirt painted-over. This call to holiness connects with our historic values and also makes us bold to confront all destructive behaviors - anything that dishonors God.
Becoming real Christ-followers is the great purpose of our community. We are serious about evangelization and disciple-making. We are not casual about pointing out the way of life and holiness. We expect everyone to grow spiritually, whether pre-Christians, new Christians or longtime Christians.
What’s Really Really Important to Free Methodists?
- All local churches connect to other local churches. This is where we practice truth and grace.
- Our mission dominates our church. If something doesn’t fit our mission we quit doing it.
- We’re committed to ministry among the poor.
- We try to speak the good news with words and emotion so that people who aren’t religious can hear and say “yes.”
- We accept everybody. It doesn’t matter what your past is, how messed up you might be, or how good you might think you are. Jesus loves us all and can heal us all. Come on in!
- We think small groups and cells are the best places for spiritual growth.
- Our local churches are like mission outposts in their communities. Our pastors are appointed not just to a local congregation or a building, but to whole communities.
- We are a part of God’s apostolic movement, a “sent” people. We push ourselves away from the comfortable center toward the “growth edge;” reaching new places and people with the good news.
- We usually agree with the way John Wesley understood the Bible and organized the church. Even though he’s long-since dead, we still like the way he thought.
- We believe the Bible and follow it. But the consensus of the church throughout her history is also helpful to us. That helps us not be arrogant in our own interpretation.
- We expect to be holy, like Jesus. We desire nothing less than that our conduct and our teaching reflect God. We seek nothing less than the holistic well-being of all who come under our care.
What are Free Methodists trying to do?
If these 8 things happen, we can die happy men and women:
- Every church praying
- Every church worshipping
- Every church full of disciples who reproduce themselves
- Every church seeing people saved
- Every church reproducing itself
- Every church understanding its surrounding culture
- Every church involved in world missions
- Every church ministering with a plan
How did Free Methodists start?
Around the time of the U.S. civil war, the Methodist Episcopal church was drifting from its spiritual roots. Several members and pastors, led by pastor Benjamin T. Roberts, came into conflict with their regional leadership over the church’s slide into worldliness, and were expelled. Since B.T. and friends were really interested in issues that could all be called "freedoms," they started a new cluster of churches and named them the Free Methodist Church. Ever since then we’ve had this unusual name but have developed into a great church experimenting with this intriguing mix of Free and Methodical.
How do you run things?
The Free Methodist Church is a "modified episcopacy" which, in plain English means the church models mutual submission of the ordained ministers and lay ministers in its governing bodies. When everybody gets it, it’s a thing of beauty!
National Association of Evangelicals, Christian Holiness Partnership, World Methodist Council, Free Methodist World Conference and Evangelical Council For Financial Accountability.
In 2007 there were approximately 1,000 Free Methodist churches with 74,000 members in the United States and 730,000 members worldwide.