In 1968 God began a new chapter in our
movement. Two denominations, Pilgrim Holiness and Wesleyan
Methodist merged, “that the world may believe.” We reap today the benefits of their legacy
to unite 50 years ago in this scriptural mission. A holiness movement awakened. God has
moved since our earliest days as a people with a radical commitment to
deeper discipleship lived out with integrity in the public sphere.
Our forerunners were called to live with fervent devotion and single-minded
commitment. In our passionate, Wesleyan way, we sustained their vision by celebrating
every time a disciple makes a disciple. From the first Wesleyan
Church planters to our first missionaries sent to Sierra Leone, Africa,
we were being made new for a purpose. The church multiplied itself again and again,
eventually reaching out to 19 African countries where the number of churches
now nearly equals those in North America. The Wesleyan Church is now living out
the transforming presence of Christ in 96 countries of the world. In each place
faithful women and men have made the most of the opportunities God has given.
In 50 years, over 1 million lives have been made new. However, our modest multiplication isn’t
closing the growing gospel gap which has increased two-fold since 1968 to over 5
billion people who cannot make an informed decision about Jesus Christ. We need all hands on deck to spread the message. We are grounded in our history,
but learning from our mistakes. We celebrate our history of abolition, but
confess we were not as active as we should have been to advance civil rights.
We supported a woman’s right to vote, but have not opened enough doors to women.
We need more than a workforce to close the gospel gap. We must unleash a
multi-generational multi-ethnic and multi-economic kingdom force that includes women and men, laity and clergy.
Everyone belongs in this story, including you. The Wesleyan legacy and scriptural
mission continues. Today we are both recipients and stewards. The future is in
our hands. Let’s see what God is up to next as we are made new again.