John Wesley was neither the first nor the last person to have a heartwarming encounter with God. He was not the only remarkable preacher in history. Everything he did from exhorting the masses to repent and believe, to ministering to the poor and needy was from the Bible. What he did was what Christ and the many saints of the church taught and told their believers to do in order to achieve a holy life. Yet, church revival from the Methodist movement started by John Wesley lasted for 100 years, beyond Wesley’s lifetime. Furthermore, his teachings and studies surrounding his life are still in use and relevant today.
The Bible after all does take quite a lot of effort to read and understand even for the learned, what more about those who have received little to no education? Wesley and his cohorts did not just minister to these people with money and sustenance, but they also brought to these people education. By that extension, holy living was something made accessible to the people helped by Wesley and co as well. John Wesley set himself apart because he was able to use his inspiration and understanding to translate the Bible into practical templates for even the layman could use.
The methods introduced became a playbook covering a variety of topics such as personal and family prayers, observing of seasons, worship, searching of scripture, fasting and the sacraments. It enabled those who used it well to live holy lives in a tangible practical manner. This was the legacy of John Wesley and the Methodist movement.
The legacy is only as good as the people who understand the heart behind the methods. Without understanding why the methods were created, we run the risk of doing a performative ceremony. It is my hope that those in the Methodist church do not lose the meaningful heritage of what we have inherited from generations before, and will be able to pass it down well to the generations after.