These were the General Rules of the Methodist movement when it began in England. When John Wesley first set them out for the people called Methodist he understood, as Ruben Job says in his book The Three Simple Rules, “one could have all the structures and systems right but could lose the power of God that translates into a Christ like life.” To guide Methodists on a path toward a Christ like life, Wesley outlined a simple rule of life for them. They summed up not only what it meant to be Methodist, but a pathway toward faithful following of Jesus Christ. These rules were front and center among small group meetings and guided discussion as to how each was striving toward or away from Christ.
In a moment in time in which life seems to get more complicated and the future is certainly unknown, I find in myself a pull toward simplification and a need for establishing a firm foundation again of who I am as a follower of Jesus. It is in these rules, that I find a faithful friend to guide me toward more faithful living in this complex moment. Rev. Dennis Spence, when he started as the interim as I began leave, mentioned his goal as the interim pastor was our General Rules – Do No Harm, Do Good, and help people stay in love with God. Those words stuck with me as it reminded me of my calling as well as a Methodist Christian and pastor.
With this in mind, I want to invite you on a journey over the next three Sundays to explore with me the General Rules of the Methodist Movement. Each week, one of the sermons will focus on a General Rule. Moreover, as part of this exploration, our youth will be helping us. Particularly, on Nov. 15th, we are having Youth Sunday. During this service our youth will be leading us in understanding the General Rule of “Staying in Love with God.” Through skit, scripture, song, and sermon, we will hear be encouraged and strengthen to stay in love with God and what this means. I would encourage you to tune in not only to support our youth but to learn from them!
If you want to get a head start or unsure about the General Rules of the Methodists, there are some great resources available. You could pick up Rueben Job’s book, The Three Simple Rules for cheap and easily read it in a day. You can also read the Rules in their entirety by following this link: In fact, if you want to know more about them or read them in their entirety, you can learn more here: https://www.umc.org/en/content/the-general-rules-of-the-methodist-church. While some of the detailed descriptions may seem outdated, the general rules still stand as a good guide to faithful life in Christ.
I pray you are blessed as we journey toward a simple path. May we Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.