Warm Hearts and Extended Hands –
By Kimberly Reisman –
One of the joys of leading World Methodist Evangelism (WME) is witnessing the transformative work of the Holy Spirit through the worldwide Wesleyan Methodist movement. The children of John Wesley have a unique way of becoming channels of the Spirit, crossing boundaries of geography and tradition to work together for the good of the Kingdom.
Recently WME provided evangelism training and leadership development in both Brazil and Ecuador. These gatherings were exciting times of learning, growth, and celebration as leaders from many manifestations of the Wesleyan Methodist movement joined together to connect, collaborate, and continue to reach out in the spirit of John Wesley.
Each time I gather with the broader family, I become more and more grateful for our Wesleyan heritage. We may differ in culture and language, we may not organize ourselves in the same way, or have identical approaches to worship; but the foundational understandings of grace and holiness that permeate our DNA cut across all those differences – impacting even those outside our tribe, though they may not be aware.
Wesleyan theology is compelling. Several years ago, we provided training in Ukraine, Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. In each of these places, we were joined by Baptists, Presbyterians, and others who were drawn to Wesleyan distinctives such as prevenient grace, sanctification, and Scriptural holiness.
The Wesleyan Methodist family has also been in theological dialogue with the Roman Catholics and I’m reminded of the joy Pope Francis expressed when I met him at the 50th anniversary of those dialogues and told him that I (and Methodists all over the world) was praying for him.
The Wesleyan Methodist movement was launched by a heart strangely warmed, and people have been drawn to Jesus ever since through the continued warm heart of our movement. Wesley was willing to extend his hand to those who shared his heart, even if they didn’t agree on every detail of Christian doctrine.
Recently, we’ve had several new and wonderful examples of the way in which Wesley’s warm heart has extended beyond the confines of the movement he began. The Pope received his Wesley bobble head doll (photo previous page) with as much joy as he received word of my prayers (photo below). And who would have imagined that John Wesley’s picture would grace the big screen in a church in Korea – the largest church in the entire world (photo on page 34)!
I imagine John Wesley is smiling at the thought that the Holy Spirit has used his warm-hearted legacy to impact not only his own movement, but those beyond it. And I pray that his movement, our movement would continue to extend our hands to others as channels of the Holy Spirit so that hearts might be warmed, and lives transformed.
Kimberly Reisman is the Executive Director of World Methodist Evangelism. Dr. Reisman earned her PhD in theology from Durham University in the United Kingdom. Photo is courtesy of Dr. Ted Campbell, Albert C. Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. “On the eve of Aldersgate Day (May 24), here’s how John Wesley showed up last week at the largest Christian church in the world – the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, with ca. 800,000 members,” reported Dr. Campbell. “The pastor of the congregation, Young Hoon Lee, has explicitly identified this Pentecostal (‘full gospel’) congregation as part of the broader family of Wesleyan churches – that’s what he was saying when he showed this slide – and he and the congregation sponsored a meeting of Wesleyan (Methodist/Holiness/Fourfold Gospel/Pentecostal) leaders at Yoido.” The pastor attended Dr. Campbell’s lecture on Puritan and Wesleyan ways of describing the “way of salvation.”