The United States of America celebrated 240 years of freedom last month — nearly a quarter of a millennium of freedom as a country. This issue of Light + Life Magazine is dedicated to the freedoms of Free Methodism. I urge you to stop and think about what that means.
I’m always quick to question word choices. When I think about what it means to be Free Methodist, I have to chuckle a little bit. “Free” and “Methodist” are not exactly synonymous words. To have freedom but live methodically seems contradictory if you don’t recognize what it truly means to be a Free Methodist.
I like to fly (in airplanes). My job takes me to really exciting places, and I have the privilege of meeting some of the best Free Methodists in the world. Some of my favorite conversations happen traveling next to strangers. Inevitably, someone will ask me what I do. I have several options I could share!
I could say I’m a solopreneur; I love starting companies and selling them. I could say I am an associate pastor for youth in the Near East Side of Indianapolis. I could say I work as the publisher and director for Light + Life Communications. I could say I work as a vice president of development for Day Media Inc., a global media company based out of Indianapolis. I could say I work in the area of leadership development with a global organization called the WiLD Foundation and BadBobby Leaders Inc. I love that all of my occupational ties are centered around the Free Methodist denomination. I usually take a deep breath and explain my occupation(s) and then brace myself for the questions.
The first question usually is: “What are Free Methodists?” My favorite question; that’s an easy one. Free Methodists are highly motivated people who stand for freedom and liberty to lead and follow according to a lifestyle that calls one to live like Jesus Christ. We have a responsibility to lead our society and culture. We lead by granting freedom to all people to worship together. We lead by treating women and men as equals and encourage the use of their individual gifts, wherever they are. We treat the poor and disenfranchised with dignity and humanity. We reflect the love of Christ to all people. We empower laity and clergy with equal authority in our churches. Lastly, we have the freedom to worship God in various ways and encourage the diversity that comes with our various contexts. The freedoms of Free Methodists allow and encourage us to be different in this world.
“Freedom is not free” was coined by retired U.S. Air Force Col. Walter Hitchcock whose service helped guarantee our nation’s freedom. If you think Free Methodists aren’t free, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m proud to say, “I’m Free Methodist,” because I am proud of our church movement and the freedoms in Christ we represent.
Jay Cordova is an ordained elder who serves as the director of communications for the Free Methodist Church – USA. He previously worked as a startup business entrepreneur and coached small businesses in a Michigan incubator.