People have tried to point this out to me before, and the facts of it are obvious. The United Methodist Church is not a movement. The Wesleyan societies are not a complete model for the life of the UMC. Ever since the Christmas Conference of 1784, we have been both a church and a movement.
In our Sunday worship and sacramental services we fulfill the role the establishment Church of England – open to all and broad in our preaching and practice. We speak to the world and provide a place where anyone who walks in the doors would find themselves able to participate.
But we also need a vital and active Methodism where people are challenged to grow through encounters with and accountability to other Christians in small settings. We need to foster a Wesleyan message of growth toward Christian maturity, completion, and perfection. With that we require creative structures to help them.
None of this is news to most of the Methoblogosphere who read this. But it helps me to take time to actually write it down.