A Tree Stump
John Wesley started the Methodist movement by doing something that the “good Anglican preachers” considered an abomination to the clerical collar. It was called open-air preaching. Wesley saw people who didn’t feel comfortable in the church and wouldn’t come into worship because of their uncomfortable. Wesley took the gospel to them. He started to preach in fields, standing on a tree stump
I heard this part of John Wesley’s story towards the end of my seminary journey. It transformed my understanding of the purpose of the church. It helped me explain what I’ve always wanted to do. I want to take the gospel to those who don’t feel they can walk into the church by going to them.
The Term Devil Dodger
The term “Devil Dodger” is a slang term for a preacher, often used for military chaplains. While in seminary, I served for a semester as a chaplain at the VA Hospital. I talked with veterans of all ages. I listened to them talk about what physically ailed them. Time after time though, I listened to veterans share how they have struggled with believed God could accept who they are after going to war. I realized after that time that I wanted to help ensure no military person would ever feel they don’t fit in or that they don’t have a place to worship.
That same desire grew as I was in ministry. I saw all the groups who saw themselves as being outside of the church; groups that have an active community, just like the military.
Wesley knew that the Gospel of Jesus is stronger than anything that’s ever happened in a person’s life. That’s my life’s passion now. I bring the promises that Christ is bigger than anything we can imagine everywhere I go. I was lifted out of a life of pain, sorrow, and self-gratification. God redeemed me for rejecting his promises and gave me a purpose for my life.
I was watching a video about becoming an expert on a subject. To be an expert, you must love the subject, and work on it 10,000 hours or more. I can’t speak to how many hours I have contemplated the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or how many hours I have talked about it, but I love sharing it with people. I’m not talking about sharing a track with someone. I love helping a person understand that God can love them, as they are, and Christ died for them to be forgiven.
When I started my blog a couple of years ago, I couldn’t think of a name for the blog. I couldn’t come up with a logo, a good subtitle, or anything. It finally hit me last week. I decided to name my blog:
because that’s what I am, a Methodist Preacher. Circuit Riders is what the first Methodist Preachers were called. I go where God sends me and help lead his church to be witnesses in our world. I set the tagline as:
“Modern Day Devil Dodger Sharing the Good News of Christ”
The tagline summarizes everything I am and what I believe I should do in ministry. I believe ministry should change at the times do, but what we believe, the Gospel and Scripture don’t change. Just as Wesley did, I can go where people are to share with them that God loves them.