What We Believe
Everything Starts With God
We believe God shows us who God is in the Bible. While the Bible can’t answer every question, it is the window we have to who God is.
The story told in the Bible tells us that God is love. Before anything else, God exists in relationship: Father, Son, and Spirit. God is relationship. God is love.
The Bible also tells us of acts we now call sacraments that keep us anchored in a revealing of God’s love for us. We baptize infants as an act and sign of God’s loving mercy at work in every life. We baptize adults when they confess their faith and their sin, because we know God loves them and will cleanse them. We welcome everyone to communion, the meal of bread and wine Jesus gave us, because in it we are reminded of and visited by the sacrificial presence of God.
God created the world for the sake of love. God steps into the world in Jesus Christ to show a sacrificial and redeeming love that reconciles the world to God. God’s Spirit is present with us because of God’s enduring love for us that will one day bring peace, justice, and righteousness to a broken world.
Everyone is Transformed
Holy love, lived out in real relationships has a way of changing people. Real love demands sacrifice, respect, patience, and listening. It requires a trust in those around us who know us best, and can never be achieved simply because an authority like a pastor or teacher tells us.
The earliest Methodists gathered in classes and bands to wrestle as equals with difficult questions about how their lives reflected God’s love. They did so because of the conviction that transformation didn’t happen apart from loving relationships. Those real relationships contain accountability, but also understanding. They help us apply the truth of scripture but through the lens of experience and compassion.
We live this out at St Joe UMC and St Joe @ the Y through circle church, brunch church, Sunday School, small groups, and Bible studies.
The founder of Methodism once said “If we cannot think alike, can we not at least love alike.?” That was his way of saying that we don’t have to agree on most things. In fact, sometimes our hearts are most changed to grow towards God when there is disagreement. We live this out at St Joe UMC and St Joe @ the Y by being people of diverse perspectives and opinions. We don’t all think alike! That is our strength and a constant source of the shaping of our love!
We also believe that transformation happens when we serve and act on behalf of others through acts of justice and compassion. We live this out through our service with Neighborlink, Associated Churches, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Fort Wayne Community Schools, etc.
We believe by sharing in the mission of God’s love and by sharing our lives with one another that everyone is transformed to be more like Jesus.
Everyone Is Welcome and Wanted
We believe God’s drawing near in Jesus Christ is for all people. God didn’t choose some and not others. In Jesus, God said yes to everyone. It’s unconditional! That’s a love that is different than any other love we’ve ever known. Some have described this “different” love as a “holy” love, which is just one more way of saying God loves in an exceptional and unique way.
Early Methodists believed this so deeply they would walk with prisoners on their way to the gallows as they faced death for their crimes. Their purpose was to assure even those prisoners of God’s love for them.
The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, took the message of God’s love to field, factories, and slums. God’s relationship, he was convinced, was not only for the wealthy, but for all.
While we as a church are growing toward a welcome that is as radical as the Cross, we hold the theological conviction that ALL people are welcome in God’s community.
Everyone Can Be Called
God promised to pour out God’s Spirit on both sons and daughters. We believe women serving and leading the church is a deeply scriptural act. You’ll see both male and female pastors at St Joe UMC and St Joe @ the Y. Also, we strive for a balance of gender and phase of life in the lay leadership of our church.
We believe God might be calling you! Maybe this is the craziest thing we believe! We still expect God to show up in our time and we expect God continues to pull people into relationship with God and others.