Preaching Methodist History

Steve Petty
Written by Steve Petty

How do you feel about preaching in summer?  Loss of energy, lack of direction, weather just too hot and muggy to get up and go?  Here are some ideas to put wind in your sails.

For United Methodist preachers this summer may be particularly depressing.  We  have just watched our beloved denomination go through another General Conference with no real resolution to the problems that divide us, no clear remedy for the problems that are confronting us, and no apparent directions to take us out of the perilous places we all live in our local situations.  What do we do?  Where do we go?  How do we lead our people into a bright new future when the present days seem murky and unclear?

In the past, following General Conferences, I found it really helpful to remind people who we are as United Methodist.  There are very clear reasons most of us chose to be United Methodists.  I started preaching an August sermon series call: “Thank God I’m a Methodist”.  I added to it for several more years as a breath of fresh air during August.  By the third time around, we found attendance actually increasing in August.  People liked it.  They’d come up to me afterwards and, just a bit sheepishly, say, “I knew there was reason I had chosen the United Methodist Church.  Thanks for reminding me why I love my church so much.”

I’ve posted the outlines for the 14 sermons on this resource page.  Each outline is different.  Sometimes it will seem like an almost full text of a sermon, and sometimes it will seem like the barest skeleton from which to preach.  Keep in mind some were on Communion Sundays, so those might be designed to only last 12 minutes.  But most are full working frameworks or outlines.  You will have to fill in some of your own illustrations, but many are provided or hinted.

It is my hope you will look at them and be inspired to use those parts that ring true with you, and alter or adapt those parts you are sure you can do better with on your own.

Here are the 14 Sermon Outlines:

You don’t need to give me credit for these.  It’s the Bible, and it’s our history, so just use them and adapt them to your needs.

1 Methodism Begins in the Home – Susana Wesley – Mother of Methodism.

2 Rational Theology – An overview of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral

3 Going on to Perfection – The Theological feature that makes Wesley different

4 Endless Line of Splendor – Some amazing Methodists who changed their world.

5 Free Thinkers – Embracing our belief in Education for All

6 Involved in the World – A Church with a World Mission

7 Grace before Grace – Our wonderful three Graces

8 Joyful Singing – Methodists have always been known for their singing

9 Itinerant Preachers – Circuit Riders shape America – You can too

10 A Social Creed – A long history of involvement in Society’s problems

11 Experience – We need to know Jesus before we can share Jesus

12 Tradition – We need to embrace our traditions, and understand them

13 Reason – Reason guides all our other parts, it’s why we build Colleges

14 Scripture – What we do and do not believe about the Bible, and a Readers Digest visit to the whole text.

Some are slightly repeated or referenced.  Like 2 is dealt with in depth in 11-14, but there were four years in between.

Number 6 really begs you to share some of the mission trips that you have been on in your life, where did you go, what did you accomplish, how did it shape you into who you are today?  (Show pictures, but not too many.)

Have fun with it.  Now, if you really want to rock it on, there is a silly song that circulated in the 60’s to the tune of John Denver’s “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy” that people enjoy singing now and then as you do the series.  I’ve included the lyrics for you as well.  Feel free to add more stanzas to fit your church or mood.

Lyrics – Thank God, I’m a Methodist

Now, get that Cross and Flame trunk magnet and you are good to go!

Steve Petty

©2016 by Steve Petty