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Wesleyan Wisdom for Mission-Shaped Discipleship

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In recent years, some scholars have shifted their focus from missional ecclesiology to mission spirituality, by making authentic discipleship the starting point of missional thinking. From this perspective, it is not churches but people that participate in the mission of God. The world is not evangelised by structures, but by mission-shaped disciples who love God and neighbour. Discipleship is the essential bridge between missiology and ecclesiology. The modest aim of this article is to survey some resources of Wesleyan theology and spirituality for points of contact with this evolving conversation about discipleship, and offer some brief reflections on missional practice for the contemporary church. It will be argued that mission spirituality means abiding deeply with God and living missionally in the world. Mission-shaped disciples are those who intentionally pursue this mission spirituality as a way of life; by seeking growth in God’s love through spiritual discipline and small group accountability, and sharing that love with others in the ordinary flow of everyday life. Missional churches are defined as communities of mission-shaped disciples; and missional leadership is that which invests in the formation of discipleship, for the sake of church vitality and missional outreach.


There have been a number of unfolding and overlapping shifts in Western missiological thinking over recent years. First, the dominant understanding of mission as sending people overseas to pre-Christian cultures has been overshadowed by the need for missionary activity in our emerging post-Christian context. The ‘Gospel and Our Culture’ movement, for example, has helped the church understand the Western world as a mission field, to which all the principles of cross-cultural mission can be applied.[1] A second shift has liberated the whole idea of mission from bondage to the institutional structures of the church. It is not that the church of God has a mission, but that the mission of God has a church; or, in other words, missiology precedes ecclesiology. The ‘Missional Church’ movement has sought to address the challenge of domestic mission by letting the principles of cross-cultural engagement shape the development of culturally and contextually relevant expressions.[2] A third shift, which is presently gaining momentum, attempts to refocus our attention from missional ecclesiology to mission spirituality, and making authentic discipleship the starting point of missional thinking.[3] Alan and Debra Hirsch claim that ‘discipleship has become a frontier issue for the people of God at this time in history’.[4] From this perspective, it is not ‘churches’ but ‘people’ that participate in the mission of God. The world is not evangelised by structures, but by disciples who love God and neighbour. The modest aim of this article is to survey some resources of Wesleyan theology and spirituality for points of contact with this evolving conversation about discipleship, and offer some brief reflections on missional practice for the contemporary church.[5]

Missio Dei: Being Co-Workers with God

Neither Wesley, nor the early Methodist preachers, use the terminology of ‘mission’ as such, but they do speak about ‘the work of God’ and about being co-workers with God. This more directly biblical language perfectly captures the essence of the missio Deias the activity of God in the world, and our participation in it. The ‘work of God’ is fundamentally what God does to lead humanity through the whole way of salvation; by setting us free from sin, filling us with the divine life, and renewing us in holy love. There are two ‘grand branches’ to this work. On the one hand, there is the work that God has done for usin Christ, to forgive our sins and bring us into right relationship with the Father (i.e. justifying grace). On the other hand, there is the work that God does in usthrough the Spirit, setting us free from the power of sin, and conforming us to the likeness of Christ (i.e. sanctifying grace). The Spirit works preveniently in the hearts of all people, and plants an inner restlessness that can only be satisfied by life-transforming communion with God. Through this divine initiative, we are enabled to be co-workers with God in our own salvation and in the salvation of others.[6]

First, we become co-workers with God as recipientsof the missio Dei, when we are caught up in the missional flow of prevenient, justifying and sanctifying grace. We are invited to ‘work out’ our own salvation, as the Spirit works in us ‘to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose’ (Philippians  2:12).[7] We become co-workers, in this sense, by taking up the spiritual disciplines as ‘means of grace.’ Second, we are co-workers with God as participantsin the missio Dei, when the love and grace we have received reaches out to others in works of witness and service. ‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’ (Ephesians 2:10).[8] Wesley says, all ‘the children of God are “workers together with God,” in every good thought, or word, or action’.[9] Third, those who are called to missional leadership, become ‘co-workers in God’s service’, through the activity of sowing, planting and watering the gospel in people’s lives (1 Corinthians 3:5-9). The early Methodist preacher-pioneers were frequently observed to have ‘the work of God at heart’, which overflowed in a zeal for promoting and prospering the work of God in the hearts of others (2 Corinthians 6:1).[10]

Indeed, Wesley refers to the Methodist movement itself as a great work of God: beginning in the hearts of hungry disciples; prospering among those who gather to help one another work out their salvation; and spreading out through their relationships in the world. The following reflections aim at understanding this deep connection between evangelical soteriology and contemporary missiology. If traditional soteriology has charted the work of God from the outside-in, then a Wesleyan approach to mission has the effect of turning soteriology inside-out.

Mission Spirituality: Turning Soteriology Inside-Out

Later in life, Wesley wrestled with a key missiological question: ‘If the Christian gospel is the good news that every human being was made to hear, then why has Christianity made such slow progress around the world?’ His argument is startlingly simple, yet profoundly challenging. ‘The grand stumbling block’ to the spread of the gospel, he says, is ‘the lives of Christians’.[11] He observes that the generality of those who call themselves Christians are not living proof of the gospel; since they lack the ‘power of religion’ in their hearts, and fail to embody the beauty of holiness in their lives. The gospel is not just a message we bring, but a life we live. ‘The medium is the message’; and, for Wesley, God’s chosen medium is the witness of ordinary people whose lives are made extraordinary by the holy love of God and neighbour. If the church would recover its vocation to be a holy people, non-Christians would ‘look upon them with other eyes, and begin to give attention to their words’ so that ‘the holy lives of Christians will be an argument they will not know how to resist’.

Wesley narrates the origins and growth of Methodism to illustrate his point. From the gathering of a few young men in a ‘holy club’ at Oxford University, and starting a few small ‘societies’, there emerged a growing movement that would spread all around Great Britain, Ireland and America. The work of God began with a ‘mustard seed’ of hunger for God, that motivated a pursuit of holiness, and led to the experience of evangelical conversion and growth in grace. This seed then spread into ‘a large tree, and put forth great branches’; as others were invited onto the journey of holiness, and became living proof of the gospel in their own lives.

Although Wesley saw the work of God ‘breaking out’ in a ‘shower’ or ‘torrent of grace’ during seasons of revival, he concludes that ‘in general…the kingdom of God will silently increase, wherever it is set up, and spread from heart to heart, from house to house, from town to town, from one kingdom to another’.[12] Holiness of heart and life expresses this inseparable connection between personal salvation and evangelistic outreach. The work of God is to draw all people to himself, in order to transform their hearts and lives, then send them out as co-workers and contagious witnesses in the world.[13] From a Wesleyan perspective, mission spirituality has its source in the conscious experience of God’s justifying and sanctifying grace, and is expressed in a way of life that is missional by nature. This inner wellspring of holy love overflows in the missional love of neighbour, motivated by a zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Michael Collins Reilly concludes that ‘all Christian spirituality must, in one way or another, be for mission’.[14]

Mission-Shaped Discipleship: Mission Spirituality as a Way of Life

If mission is ultimately a spiritual issue, then spiritual formation for mission is the primary challenge. Yet this is what Dallas Willard calls the ‘great omission’ from the Great Commission.[15] I use the term ‘mission-shaped discipleship’ to describe a way of life in which we become co-workers with God, and embody the logic of mission spirituality. From a Wesleyan perspective, this way of life has four mutually-conditioning ingredients.[16]

1. Seeking Holiness

Wesley claimed that God had raised up the Methodist movement ‘to spread scriptural holiness over the land’.[17] Further, he believed that the doctrine of ‘Christian perfection’ was ‘the grand depositumwhich God has lodged with the people called Methodists; and for the sake of propagating this chiefly He appeared to have raised it up’.[18] For Wesley, ‘scripture perfection’ is nothing more or less than ‘pure love filling the heart and governing all our words and actions’; or becoming like Christ in heart and life.[19] A Methodist is not one who has arrived at this goal, but one who hungers for it, and strives after it; that is, ‘any who sincerely follow after what they know they have not yet attained’.[20] When those who live without God come into contact with a people whose lives are in the process of becoming radiant with the ‘beauty of holiness’, Wesley believed that the truth of the gospel would be not only credible but attractive and compelling.[21]

2. Spiritual Discipline

Wesley encouraged the early Methodists to pursue scriptural holiness through the ‘means of grace’, by which our life-transforming communion with God is entered and deepened.[22] These include ‘works of piety’: such as prayer, searching the Scriptures, participating in the Lord’s Supper, and fasting or abstinence. They also include ‘works of mercy’: by caring for the body, such as visiting the sick (Matthew 25:36); and caring for the soul, by ‘awakening sinners’ and ‘contributing in any manner to the saving of souls from death’ (James 5:20).[23] As missional practices, works of piety and mercy involve us in a movement of divine grace that fills, transforms and overflows our lives with love of God and neighbour. They are also called ‘good works’ insofar as we become co-workers with God through them; in working out our own salvation and working for the salvation of others.

3. Sharing Fellowship

It takes the help of deep spiritual friendships to help us maintain discipline, and keep us intentional about the pursuit of holiness. Wesley taught the early Methodists that there was no such thing as ‘solitary Christianity’ because the inevitability of spiritual dissipation, the temptation to quit, and the deceitfulness of the human heart, are all too great to overcome by ourselves.[24] The core purpose of Methodist society was ‘to watch over one another in love’ (Hebrews 13:17), so they might ‘help each other to work out their salvation’ (Philippians 2:12). The societies were subdivided into small groups of up to twelve people called ‘class meetings,’[25] who held one another accountable, and helped one another respond more faithfully to the movements of divine grace. Those who hungered for greater intimacy and spiritual maturity were gathered into even smaller groups of four or more, called ‘bands’, arranged by age and sex.[26] As missional practices, mutual accountability and group spiritual direction make us more attentive to the presence of God, and more responsive to the leading of the Spirit, amidst the vicissitudes of daily life.

4. Everyday Mission

Seeking holiness, spiritual discipline, and sharing fellowship all contribute to a God-centred life that is missional by nature. From a Wesleyan perspective, mission is best understood as the character of a holy people who are set apart for God and sent out into the world, to live and work for his praise and glory. The ethos of everyday mission is embodied in what Wesley calls ‘social holiness’; meaning that every Christian life is embedded in a nexus of personal relationships through which the life, love and grace of God may be revealed. He says, ‘This is the great reason why the providence of God has so mingled you together with other men, that whatever grace you have received of God may be communicated to others’.[27] The spirit of everyday mission is also encapsulated in Wesley’s principle of ‘good stewardship’,[28] or being fully surrendered to God’s purposes. Life is a gift, not to be owned and possessed, but to be enjoyed in the process of giving it back to God, in the service of others. All of our intellectual powers, bodily capacities, material wealth, time and talents are to be surrendered into God’s hands: ‘To thee, O God… I give up myself entirely: May I no longer serve myself, but thee, all the days of my life… Be thou the sole disposer and governor of myself and all’.[29] As missional practices, social holiness and good stewardship shape a way of life that impacts others, moment by moment, as occasion demands, one act of mercy at a time.

Missional Church: Communities of Mission-Shaped Discipleship

John Wesley left the Methodist movement with a cautionary prognosis about its future. He said, ‘I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid that they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this will undoubtedly be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.’[30] Many suspect that this should now be taken as a salutary diagnosis of contemporary Methodism;[31] in its failure to reproduce the founding charisms which gave it birth. Churches may languish because they have invested more in the form of religion than the power of godliness; and rendered themselves impotent for renewal.

Reflecting on the purpose of church structure, Wesley asked, ‘What is the end of all ecclesiastical order? Is it not to bring souls from the power of Satan to God, and to build them up in His fear and love. Order, then, is so far valuable as it answers these ends; and if it answers them not, it is worth nothing’.[32] He adopted a prudential  approach to forms and structures; in which the true test of authenticity is fruitfulness in discipleship. The way we ‘do church’ is to be valued only insofar as it functions as a means of grace, through which we become co-workers with God.

I would argue that there is a difference between prudential and pragmatic stances towards church structure.[33] On the one hand, prudence begins with practices of disciple-making, and then allows effective structure to emerge providentially. The pioneers of early Methodism did not set out to plant societies that could make disciples, but to ‘plant the gospel’ and make disciples who needed, longed for, and gathered themselves into empowering community. On the other hand, pragmatism begins with the business of revising structures in order to renew discipleship; often by imitating successful churches. Ironically, these models of ‘success’ have typically flourished through prudential approaches to mission; creating and adapting structures to keep up with what God is doing providentially in their midst. In an attempt to reproduce this success, however, we tend to exchange the prudential spirit for pragmatic solutions, by mimicking structures rather than the mission spirituality from which they arose. The danger with such pragmatism lies in reproducing new forms of nominalism, no matter how scientifically proven or culturally relevant they may be.

The argument here is that mission movements like early Methodism press us to reverse this conventional wisdom, by seeking a prudential spirit rather than settling for pragmatic solutions. If we invest disproportionately in the form of religion, we end up with power failure. If we invest extravagantly in the power of godliness, however, we are more likely to end up with disciples who renew the church. Here are four possible ‘reversals’ of thinking inspired by the Wesleyan ingredients of mission-shaped discipleship outlined above.

1. Practice Holy Living to Develop Relevant Structures

Viewed positively, the motivation for restructuring lies in a desire to increase missional effectiveness in the face of diminishing resources. When we start with church structures, however, they easily become ends in themselves rather than means of grace. Renewal gets confused with implementing some new vision of ‘doing church’, and discipleship is reduced to serving the structures, all in the name of mission. But if we start with discipleship, we are driven by a different question: What kind of people do we want to be? The Wesleyan commitment to seek holiness shapes a people who delight in the gospel of God’s holy love, and seek the fullness of a Jesus-shaped and Spirit-filled life. Those who long for more of God also long for structures that can help them become more faithful disciples, and will be creative in adapting them to that end.

2. Practise Spiritual Discipline to Experience Authentic Worship

In most churches, the Sunday service defines what it means to ‘do church’. Discipleship gets reduced to attendance at worship, and mission is about attracting new church-goers to improve attendance records. When we start with church services, however, we are likely to end up as consumers rather than disciples. People attend a worship in order to binge on one good meal, then starve for the rest of the week. But if we start with discipleship, we ask a different question: What kind of worshippers do we want to be? The Wesleyan commitment to spiritual discipline shapes a people who find God to be just as real, present and active on Wednesday afternoon as Sunday morning. For those who practice the presence of God, gathering for worship is not the start of a God-forsaken week, but an opportunity to give thanks and praise for a God-filled life.

3. Practise Deep Fellowship to Grow Vital Community

The value of small groups is now widely recognised, especially when gathered around the study of scripture. Yet there is a growing suspicion that all this fellowship has done little to impact everyday life and discipleship. On the one hand, when we start with the need for friendship, we may end up with social circles rather than spiritual communities. On the other hand, by starting with the need to study we may become mere learners rather than real followers of Jesus. But if we start with discipleship, we ask a different question: What kind of friends do we want to be? The Wesleyan commitment to sharing fellowship shapes a people who hold each other accountable for their walk with God, and help one another become more faithfully attentive to the Spirit’s leading in daily life. Those who invest in such deep spiritual conversation will be stretched in both the knowledge and love of God, as hearers and doers of the word.

4. Practise Everyday Mission to Organise Effective Outreach

Our churches have been trained to think of mission in terms of developing strategies and delivering programmes. When we start with mission strategy, however, we usually end up running programmes rather than sharing faith. All our activities will be ineffective if they are not engaged by mission-shaped disciples; since people who are not alive to God, have no life to share with others. But if we start with discipleship, we ask a different question: What kind of witnesses do we want to be? The Wesleyan commitment to everyday mission shapes a people who share God’s heart for those already around them, and lay hold of providential moments to love others in word and deed. Those who are seeking to make mission a way of life, are more likely to see outreach strategies as opportunities for building relationships of evangelistic witness.

Missional Leadership: Cultivating the Spirit of a Movement

It is widely argued that mainline Methodism has been pre-occupied with maintaining structures rather than making disciples, and needs to recover its identity as a missional movement.[34] On the one hand, the need to preserve denominational structures has made managerial competence an indispensable quality. On the other hand, the desire to preserve flagging membership has often turned pastoral ministry into a mixture of personal therapy and palliative care. Either way, holy living has been traded for cheap grace, and has concealed the radical demands of the gospel on daily life. We have tended to settle for spiritually impoverished lives, with an anaemic sense of God’s presence, and little expectation of his power to transform.

Even where churches have tried to be more missional, they can end up repeating the same mistakes in new ways. We manage outreach programmes, relevant worship and fresh expressions without addressing the underlying nominalism and practical atheism that plagues ordinary Christian life. Or we run membership courses and discipleship programmes as quick fixes for renewing the church and trying to increase our confidence in the gospel. From a Wesleyan perspective, however, mission becomes naturalised in those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; who practice the presence of God in the midst of daily life; who know that they cannot be real disciples without deep spiritual friendships; and who long to be used by God to transform the lives of others.

Examining the nature of early Methodism as a mission movement reminds us that this way of life is more caught than taught. It starts on the ground with ordinary people, desperate for God, who will do whatever it takes to become truly Jesus-shaped and Spirit-filled Christians. It grows when such people gather together in small groups, to help one another in the pursuit of holiness. And it spreads, as God keeps his promises, and grace abounds from heart to heart.[35] ‘Indeed, this I always observe,‘ says Wesley, that ‘wherever a work of sanctification breaks out, the whole work of God prospers. Some are convinced of sin, others justified, and all stirred up to greater earnestness for salvation’.[36]

Cultivating the spirit of a movement, therefore, will mean raising up leaders who have a greater passion for making disciples than maintaining structures. Generally speaking, this kind of passion comes from leaders who are disciples themselves, and who delight in opportunities to mentor others in the way of Jesus. Here are four possible ‘shifts’ of thinking about leadership inspired by the ingredients of mission-shaped discipleship outlined above.

1. Don’t Just Feed the Flock, Make Them Hungry

One dominant image of church leadership has been the pastoral imperative to ‘feed the flock’ so that they might feel satisfied and happy. Unfortunately, this therapeutic approach can actually inoculate people from sensing the need for deep and lasting spiritual growth. It is useful to remember, therefore, that Jesus also said, ‘blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled’ (Matthew 5:6). The spirit of a movement calls for leaders who encourage a ‘holy dissatisfaction’ or longing for more of God, through sharing their longings with one another. Those who are hungry will seek holiness, by feasting on the promises of God, develop an expectation of spiritual breakthrough, and delight in opportunities to spread the gospel of holy love.

2. Don’t Just Do Ministry, Equip People for Life

Church leaders spend much of their energy striving to help people encounter God during ministry-oriented meetings, at certain times of the week. The problem comes when this perpetuates the idea of leadership as chaplaincy, and insulates people from taking personal responsibility for their daily discipleship. Jesus did not merely pray for his disciples, he taught them how to find God for themselves in the flow of everyday life: ‘This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father… Give us this day…”’ (Matthew 6:9). The spirit of a movement calls for leaders who will equip people to stay connected with God’s love and grace in all the spiritual disciplines. Those who practice the presence of God will learn how to hear him speak and draw on his strength for the challenges of daily life and witness.

3. Don’t Just Attract Crowds, Invest in a Few

Most church leaders have been trained to think that making a difference means attracting a crowd, and seeking to influence as many people as possible through high-impact meetings. Ministry by mass appeal has not only influenced our worship gatherings and mission programmes, but our discipleship strategies as well. Although Jesus did attract crowds, his main strategy for changing the world was to invest in a few for the sake of the many: ‘He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out’ (Mark 3:14). He also shared his life in an even smaller ‘band’ of three, so they might become like him and continue his mission. The spirit of a movement calls for leaders who will invest themselves in a few others, as example and mentor, and apprentice them in the art of spiritual guidance. Those who benefit from such deep fellowship and mentoring relationships often develop a taste for multiplying that investment in the lives of others.

4. Don’t Just Organise Mission, Open People’s Eyes

Very often, church leaders think of engaging mission in terms of planning ambitious, high risk, and creative activities. Ironically, focussing on such organised mission activity can blind us to the opportunities we have for sharing faith in the ordinary encounters of daily life. Jesus did not appear to have any discernible mission strategy other than touching and transforming the lives of all he met, as a co-worker with the Father in daily life: ‘The Son… can do only what he sees his Father doing’ (John 5:19); and he tells his disciples, ‘Open your eyes and look at the fields’ (John 4:35). The spirit of a movement calls for leaders who will train people to discern the work of God as it emerges around them, and engage it as everyday missionaries. Those who are learning to live in the providence of God will sense the impulses of the Spirit as invitations to participate in kingdom moments that are about to unfold, right in the midst of daily life.

Conclusion

From a Wesleyan perspective, spirituality and discipleship provide the link between missiology and ecclesiology. A theology of mission spirituality reminds us that mission is an inherently personal matter, primarily expressed in movements of divine love and grace, before it is expressed in church structures and strategies. Personal salvation is not an end in itself, however, but a privilege to be turned inside-out, as God works in us and through us to reach a lost and broken world. The emphasis on mission-shaped discipleship reminds us that mission spirituality is embodied by an intentional way of life, and expressed in the ordinariness of daily living. The pursuit of holiness is not about withdrawing from the world, but being a Jesus-shaped and Spirit-filled presence within it, as the gospel takes flesh and touches lives, one work of mercy at time.

When we begin with spirituality, it is mission-shaped disciples that make mission-shaped churches, not the other way around. Missional churches are communities of disciples who gather to help one another become fully devoted followers of Jesus, in moment-by-moment dependence on the guidance and strength of the Spirit. Such communities focus on becoming a holy people, who visibly embody the movements of divine love and grace, when gathered together and dispersed in the world. And missional leaders are those who invest in this power of godliness with the confidence that contextually relevant forms of church will emerge as a consequence. Indeed, it is from this overflow of spiritual zeal in the Wesleyan tradition that many world-changing movements of evangelistic fervour and social responsibility have arisen.


[1]This movement is rooted in the work of Lesslie Newbigin, whose corpus includes, Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture(London: SPCK, 1986). Cf. George Hunsberger and Craig Van Gelder, The Church Between Gospel and Culture(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996)

[2]Cf. Darrell Guder (Ed), Missional Church(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998). From a British perspective, Mission Shaped Church(London: Church House, 2004).

[3]Cf. Susan Hope, Mission-Shaped Spirituality(London: Church House: 2010); Roger Helland and Leonard Hjalmarson, Missional Spirituality(Leicester: IVP, 2011).

[4]Alan and Debra Hirsch, Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2010), p.23. Cf. also, Alan Hirsch and Lance Ford, Right Here, Right Now(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2010).

[5] For a more detailed account, cf. Philip Meadows, ‘The DNA of Mission-Shaped Discipleship’, in: Joseph Cunningham (Ed), Contemporary Perspectives in Wesleyan Thought(Lexington, KY: Emeth, 2013). The principles outlined in this article are being explored in practice through the Inspire Network (www.inspire-network.org.uk).

[6]Cf. Philip Meadows, ‘Entering the Divine Embrace: Towards an Ancient-Future Wesleyan Theology of Evangelism’, Wesley and Methodist Studies, 3 (2011), pp.3-30.

[7]John Wesley, Sermon 85, ‘On Working Out Our Own Salvation’, in: The Bicentennial Edition of the Works of John Wesley, v.3 (Nashville: Abingdon, 1976– ). Hereafter, BCE.

[8]BCE3, Intro to Sermon 98, ‘On Visiting the Sick,’ ¶2.

[9]BCE3, Sermon 72, ‘Of Evil Angels’, §II:9.

[10]Cf. Philip Meadows, ‘Mission Spirituality in The Early Methodist Preachers’, in: Robert Webster (Ed), Perfecting Holiness(Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2013).

[11]BCE2, Sermon 63, ‘The General Spread of the Gospel’, ¶21.

[12]Ibid, ¶17.

[13]Cf. the definition of ‘missionary spirituality’ by Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio(Rome, Libreria Editrice Vaticana: 1990), ¶90.

[14]Michael Collins Reilly, Spirituality for Mission(Mayknoll, NY: Orbis, 1978), p.237.

[15]Dallas Willard, The Great Omission(Oxford: Monarch, 2006).

[16]Philip Meadows, The Wesleyan DNA of Discipleship(Cambridge: Grove, 2013).

[17]John Wesley, ‘Minutes of Several Occasions,’ in: Thomas Jackson (Ed), The Works of John Wesley, 1872 Edn, AGES digital CD-ROM (Rio, WI: 2002), v.8, p.326. Hereafter, Works.

[18]John Wesley, Letter to Robert Carr Brackenbury, September 1790, in: John Telford (Ed), The Letters of John Wesley(London: Epworth, 1931), v.8, p.238. Hereafter, Letters.

[19]Works 11:469, ‘A Plain Account of Christian Perfection’.

[20]Works8:384, ‘The Character of a Methodist’.

[21]BCE1, Sermon 24, ‘Upon Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount: Discourse 4’, §IV:1-3.

[22]BCE 1, Sermon 16, ‘The Means of Grace’.

[23]BCE 2, Sermon 43, ‘The Scripture Way of Salvation’, §III:10.

[24]Works14:437, Preface to ‘Hymns and Sacred Poems’.

[25]Works8:269f, ‘A Plain Account of the People Called Methodists’.

[26]Works8:274f.

[27]BCE1, Sermon 24, ‘Upon Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount: Discourse 4’, §I:7.

[28]BCE2, Sermon 51, ‘The Good Steward’.

[29]Works8:262f, ‘A Collection of Forms of Prayer for Every Day of the Week’.

[30]Works13:320, ‘Thoughts Upon Methodism’.

[31]Cf. Scott Kisker, Mainline of Methodist(Nashville, TN: Discipleship Resources, 2008), ch.1.

[32]Letters 2:76.

[33]Philip Meadows, “Embodying Conversion,” in: Kenneth Collins & John Tyson (Eds), Conversion in the Wesleyan Tradition(Nashville: Abingdon, 2001).

[34]Cf. George Hunter, The Recovery of a Contagious Methodist Movement(Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2011), and Gil Rendle, Back to Zero: The Search to Rediscover the Methodist Movement(Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2011).

[35]Cf. Steve Addison, Movements that Change the World(Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2011).

[36]Works 4:56, Journal, 5 Aug 1775.

Phil Meadows

Phil is an ordained presbyter in the British Methodist Church and Lecturer in Missiology and Wesleyan Studies at Cliff College.  His research and publication interests seek to combine theology and discipleship in the Wesleyan tradition with the missionary challenges of contemporary culture.  He is also founder and director of the Inspire Movement (inspiremovement.org), an ecumenical and international network which is committed to developing the spiritual life of mission-shaped disciples.

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