Free Methodists are people who follow Christ’s teachings. These teachings are explained in the Holy Bible – God’s Word. The Bible is the guide to a satisfying life. Free Methodists earnestly seek to spread His Word throughout the world. They proclaim Christ’s love for all people. The Free Methodist Church is a well-recognized Christian denomination emphasizing holy living.
Why Free? Why Methodist?
Historically, the Free Methodist Church was organized at Pekin, New York, August 23, 1860. The first bishop of the new church was Benjamin Titus (B.T.) Roberts. He was a champion for equal rights (especially for women). He was a writer, publisher, Christian educator, and holiness preacher. The influence of his character and ministry continue today.
In 1860, the “free” in Free Methodist emphasized certain basic freedoms found in the Scriptures:
The biblical principles on which these freedoms are based are as important today as ever. We are “methodists,” believing in a disciplined, simple lifestyle. Our witness to the world is through enthusiastic, orderly methods.
The Mission and Vision
The mission statement of the church is a declaration of purpose that explains our uniqueness.
God has given us, throughout our history and even now, the charge to lead people into a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ which makes them whole people through holy living and holy loving. The results have been a Kingdom movement committed to wholeness of individuals and societies. To that end we have labored and continue to labor to address poverty, eliminate slavery, affirm the dignity of all persons, restore equality to women in all places – church and world – and help all people in bondage discover freedom in Christ.
The Free Methodist Church offers training for service, and membership in a group of people who share similar beliefs and values. The Free Methodist Church will help you find a relationship with Jesus. Through Him you can receive forgiveness and strength for living a holy life. In short, the Free Methodist Church will help you to be the best you can be.
The Free Methodist Church emphasizes certain issues and concerns in its preaching and activities. A church must have an identity if it is to be healthy and carry out its purposes. Five of these emphases which have top priority are as follows:
The Free Methodist Church recognizes the Bible as the rule for all matters of faith and life. Free Methodists practice a positive holiness that is a disciplined lifestyle motivated by Christian love. The holy life, a life of wholeness, is life lived at its best. It is the normal way for Christians to live.
The Free Methodist Church is not satisfied with just talk. Rules of conduct, detailed in the Membership Covenant, spell out practical guidelines for living a truly holy life. In this way, walk and talk match up.
Our Methodist heritage is lived out in social sensitivity, in Christian love shown through compassion and service. Both in North America and overseas, the Free Methodist Church sponsors programs to meet human need: hospitals, schools, homes for the elderly, and a worldwide child sponsorship program.
The Free Methodist Church believes that Christianity and education go together. B.T. Roberts started its first school, Chili Seminary, now Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York. Today there are additional schools of higher education. Concern for quality Christian Education is also reflected in local churches through Sunday School classes and midweek programs for all ages.
Winning people to Christ is at the heart of all that Free Methodist people do. Evangelism involves honest concern for others. Our hope is to reach people for Christ and plant new churches. We maintain an active foreign missions program of evangelism and Christian Education.
We are Family!
Free Methodists are a connected people sharing resources in order to do the Lord’s work. The Yearbook, the Light and Life magazine, and Missions People magazine as well as many other printed resources help to create a workable communication network. The Book of Discipline helps to tie the church together with a common set of beliefs and a shared heritage. In organization there are local, district, conference and general church levels. Whether from North America or Africa, Japan or Mexico, Free Methodist join under a common Constitution. We practice our faith by the same Membership Covenant. Free Methodists are definitely one family.