Field Preachers: A Church Planting Podcast - Episode 01: General Conference Roundtable
By Rachel Gilmore
In March of 1739, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, engaged in "field preaching" for the first time after being encouraged by his friend and fellow preacher George Whitefield. Instead of preaching his sermon from a pulpit, Wesley went out from the church and preached in the open air to those who didn't have the time or money to sit in a pew and hear the good news. Thousands of people, mainly those struggling with poverty, came to hear him preach that first week and the revival of Methodism was born as the good news became real in the hearts of those who heard about God's love and grace.
Church planters are modern day "field preachers" who go out from the established church into the community where they proclaim good news to those who need it most. This podcast is a series of interviews and stories from modern-day Methodist field preachers who will make you laugh, cry, and think more deeply about how and where we are called to share God's love and grace.
In August of 2019, a group of 14 United Methodist "veteran" church planters gathered in Chicago with one agenda: to build relationships. Church planting can be lonely and isolating, so these three days were a chance to reconnect to each other, to God, and to their shared call of starting new faith communities. While we were together, we recorded a roundtable discussion on the difference that General Conference 2020 might have on these new churches. While no one knows exactly what will happen at General Conference, we do expect to further explore the United Methodist stance on homosexuality with regards to same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQIA clergy. We will also look at our very existence as one United Methodist church and discern the best way to be the church moving forward in these uncertain times.