Global partnerships require a peculiar love.
When we work together with other Christians, we realize Christians do not all think alike, behave alike or see the same things.
John Wesley encouraged the Methodist movement to learn to work together for the kingdom’s advancement. His “Catholic Spirit” sermon states that Methodists need to have a “peculiar love” to those people who love God and follow Jesus Christ but are not like us in history or polity. To practice a peculiar love, we need to know who we are while connecting with others through humility and service.
Peculiar love in the New Testament is connected to the phrase “one another.” “Be devoted to one another” (Romans 12:10). “Agree with one another” (1 Corinthians 1:10). “Serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). “Forgive one another” (Colossians 3:13).
Wesley believed all Christians were called to perform “works of mercy” and cited the Moravians as examples of Christians reaching the sick, poor, widows, prisoners, hungry, thirsty, naked and strangers (Matthew 25:31–46).
We know the Free Methodist distinctives, which make us different: free will (Romans 5:17–19), entire sanctification (Ephesians 4:22–24), women in ministry (Galatians 3:26–29), and the sacraments of baptism (Colossians 2:11–12) and communion (1 Corinthians 11:23–29). We know our best practices, which make us strong: our “Articles of Religion” adds depth to our experiences, our “Book of Discipline” adds accountability to our work, our leadership structure (including clergy and laity) adds balance to our ministry, and our church history adds continuity to our journey.
Our biblical mandate is “to bring wholeness to the world through healthy biblical communities of holy people multiplying disciples, leaders, groups and churches.” We need to bless everyone we meet (Genesis 12:1–13) and walk together in the Lord’s light (Isaiah 2:1–5) for the kingdom’s sake (Mark 9:38–41).
Romans 5:17–19, 12:10
1 Corinthians 1:10, 11:23–29
Galatians 3:26–29, 5:13
Colossians 2:11–12, 3:13
Jeff Johnson is the Mid-America Conference superintendent and the Men’s Ministries International (mmifm.org) executive director.