The mission of the Rio Texas Conference is to “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World”. Our vision for achieving this mission is to do so by “Uniting Peoples, Vitalizing Congregations, Developing Leaders, and Transforming Communities.”
At the heart of the experience of the Rio Texas Conference toward fulfilling this mission and vision is the reality that we as the United Methodist Church are rooted and grounded in our Wesleyan heritage. It is therefore significant that we remain faithful to our Wesleyan heritage in our efforts to respond to the prophetic vision of advancing God’s will for our work to establish the Kingdom in today’s mission field.
This resource has therefore been developed for the distinct purpose of helping the Rio Texas Conference to remain connected to our “Wesleyan DNA”. The objective of this guide is to assemble the books, materials, and resources developed by foremost Wesleyan scholars and historians in our world today in order to equip leaders throughout the Conference with resources to assist in sustaining our foundation within our Wesleyan Methodist heritage. Maintaining was an ardent concern of John Wesley for Methodism as reflected in his writings as he reflected upon what had become the Methodist movement as he commented:
"I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid, lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case, unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out."(Thoughts Upon Methodism by John Wesley 1786)
This resource is therefore offered not as an ultimate authority on of Wesleyan Methodism, but a very intentional starting point to capture the essence of our Wesleyan heritage as it relates to forming missional communities. The resource seeks to answer the following questions:
1) What were the foundational theological principles that shaped the Wesleyan Methodist movement?
2) What was John Wesley’s dynamic strategy for the faith formation of believers in these communities?
3) What values and principles shaped the profound sense of mission that developed in Wesleyan Methodism?
The model for this resource was compiled by Dr. Hal Knight, professor of Wesleyan Studies at St. Paul School of Theology, United Methodist Elder, author, and Wesleyan specialist. The resource format and list stems from his research and academic work on John Wesley over many years and features many of his own publications. However, the work is quite diverse and encompasses works from a variety of Wesleyan scholars from seminaries and pastors from around the country.
This resource is offered to all leaders and churches of the Rio Texas Conference as a reference tool to assist in developing curriculum resources, teaching and preaching themes, program development, individual study, and a host of other ways. Hopefully, it will serve in some way to assist the Rio Texas Conference in our efforts to retain, restore (where necessary), deepen, and expand upon our Wesleyan DNA as we continue the transformational work of Jesus Christ in our mission field.