On 31 Oct 2020, the Young Adults gathered on a Saturday afternoon to dig deeper into Methodism. Thankfully, the tough questions they posed did not faze the invited speaker Rev Dr Chiang Ming Shun, lecturer in Church History at Trinity Theological College.
Rev Dr Chiang started with a brief history of Methodism, drawing attention to the time of the Wesleys. While this was familiar knowledge for some of the YAs, Rev Dr Chiang peppered his talk with lesser-known facts highlighting the impact the Wesleys still have on the Methodist Church today. For example, Rev Dr Chiang shared the famous hymn O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing by Charles Wesley was inspired by the spiritual renewal that took place at John Wesley’s open-air preaching sessions. The Wesleys also started structured gatherings known as band and class meetings: the term Methodist used to refer to someone who attended these small group meetings.
From this historical background, Rev Dr Chiang drew four key characteristics of early Methodism:
The Young Adults pondered over these characteristics in small groups after Rev Dr Chiang’s sharing, with more mature adults Siang Ling, Dyfrig, Roland and Rev Dr Chiang attached to each group as resource persons. The discussions were lively and honest, with Young Adults sharing thoughts about where the church was lacking in today and lessons we could learn from the early Methodists. A key point that stood out for many was that the early Methodists actively pursued their faith through attending weekday small group meetings and contributing actively to social welfare programs. In comparison, many Christians today are simply “Sunday Christians” who attend service once a week, and do not have that fervour to pursue God.
Other discussion themes that emerged were pursuing holiness individually versus in community, and how difficult it is to reach that level of accountability present in the class and band meetings for Young Adult LifeGroups today. Many busy Young Adults do not see the need to join a LifeGroup in the first place. Furthermore, it takes time for trust to be established between LifeGroup members –without trust, honest sharing of struggles would not be possible.
Those who attended the session gained a deeper understanding of Methodism, including younger attendees from KKMC Youth 5 and 6 who were invited to join in. Joann, a Youth 5, shared that the webinar was insightful as she got to know more about the history of Methodism and how it has shaped our church today. Davin, a Young Adult, affirmed the same. The webinar enriched his knowledge of Methodism’s deep-rooted origins in light of the context and circumstances back then – the same Methodism which we have chosen to live out today.
There is much one can learn from the rich legacy of Methodism: all it takes is the desire to dig deeper. As Matthew, a Young Adult, shared, it is important to stay curious about faith: “More importantly, we should all ask questions about our faith and understand how it works for us.”
For Prayers and Consideration
- Pray that like the early Methodists, Young Adult LifeGroups would be places where our Young Adults can pursue holiness in heart and life through accountability with one another.
- Pray that more would come to learn about the rich legacy of Methodism, and find it useful in strengthening their faith.
- Are you interested to know more about Methodism and the Methodist Church in Singapore? Follow their social media channel on Instagram or Facebook!