As United Methodists we are called to put our faith into action. United Methodists in the Dakotas name how we put faith into action by providing space for diversity, making people feel at home, supporting the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), participating in missions and service in our community, region, and the world.
Our mission statement is “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” What does that mean?
The Rev. Steven Manskar, retired and former director of Wesleyan Leadership at Discipleship Ministries, believes the answer to that question lies in the General Rule of Discipleship.
"The way you make disciples is by introducing them to Jesus and connecting them to other Christians in a small group that's focused on helping each other live the Christian life," Manskar said. "And that Christian life is shaped by this rule of discipleship."
The General Rule of Discipleship, recorded in The Book of Discipline, is "to witness to Jesus Christ in the world and to follow his teachings through acts of compassion, justice, worship and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit."
Manskar said this rule is a restatement of the general rules Wesley developed to help early Methodists further their Christian discipline.
"There's this balance between the social and the personal," Manskar said about Wesley's teachings on holiness. "From 1743 on, these general rules served as the rule of life for every Methodist."
A life of balanced discipleship incorporates works of piety and works of mercy, embracing Jesus' commandments to love God and love people.
"Acts of compassion and justice are the habits that God wants to form in us. It's how we love our neighbor as ourselves," Manskar said. "The acts of devotion and worship are those practices that God and Scripture have given us to live out our relationship with God."