Grace in Vladivostok: The Sum Is Greater Than Its Parts

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IMG_4796The Wesleyan Methodist movement is alive and well in Russia. Yes, Methodists, and yes, Russia. In a land filled with onion domes and incense, the Methodist Wesleyan family is a Spirit-filled, committed part of the body of Christ. As I taught in Vladivostok, Russia these past two weeks, that was more than evident.

One of the joys of ministry with WME is being a connection point for the global Methodist Wesleyan family. And we are global – there are over 80.5 million of us in 133 countries. There are 80 different denominations our family, each with it’s own organizational structure and rules, it’s own approach to preaching, worship, and prayer.IMG_4802

Yet when the family gathers it’s a remarkable thing. Hearts glow as denominational boundaries are transcended and people realize that there is something larger than their identity in a particular institution – their identity in Christ. When the family gathers the Spirit moves as it becomes clear that though we come from many different tribes (80 is quite a lot of tribes!), what we share is deeper – a commitment to the in breaking kingdom of God. When the family gathers relationships grow and flourish, nurtured beyond geographical boundaries, creating a sense of nearness that belies all distance. When the family gathers space opens up to think theologically as we move beyond discussions of style, to the richer world of what we teach and how we live.

When the family gathers we realize that indeed, we are all in this together.

IMG_4874I have often said that the Methodist Wesleyan family is more than the sum of its parts. That is because when the family gathers it is a Revelation moment. People gathered around the throne of God, from every tribe and people group, every shape, size, color, and language. And God’s home is there, among the people.

We are more than the sum of our parts because when the family gathers it is a Pentecost moment, and we are reminded that when God’s kingdom comes in all it’s fullness, I will no longer need an interpreter to preach and teach in Russia – not because English and Russian will be no more, but because each will hear in their own language.

IMG_4859It is an exciting time to be leading WME. The Holy Spirit is moving in powerful ways across this planet and through our Wesleyan Methodist family. God has opened a wide gate in the fence of denominational differences, created nearness though distance separates, and invited us to join him in the shared task of ushering in the kingdom. I’m ready to walk through that gate. Are you?

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Kimberly Reisman is an author, pastor, teacher and theologian serving as Executive Director of World Methodist Evangelism of the World Methodist Council. Prior to beginning at WME, Kim served in local churches, as Executive Director of Next Step Evangelism and General Editor for WesleyanAccent.com. She is a frequent speaker, focusing on evangelism, spiritual formation, women's ministries, leadership development and the intersection between faith and culture. Kim is an elder in the United Methodist Church and has written numerous books, most recently, The Christ-Centered Woman: Finding Balance in a World of Extremes (2013, Abingdon Press). Kim is also an Adjunct Professor at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, and The School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington.

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