Vandalia United Methodist Church

Pastor's Perspective

What does it mean to be a Methodist Church? I was asked this not long ago, sincerely, by someone who is openly skeptical of organized religion. He simply asked, "what good is it to be part of your tribe?"

His question demanded a good answer, a simple answer and an honest one. John Wesley, who began Methodism, longed not for an institution but rather a movement. In fact, he tried to persuade Americans not to create the Methodist institution. His movement focused on two things.

First, he wanted to spread an evangelical fire across a complacent church. People need to endorse Christ in their lives, turn away from their sinful living and towards the sacred calling of the Christian life. People need to know Jesus personally.

Second, the Christian calling is out in the world, not inside the church. We are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned and sick, and advocate for the disenfranchised. In other words, we are called to do what Jesus told us to do (read Matthew 26). The Wesleyan movement founded hospitals for the poor, helped end slavery in the British Empire, advocated for the rights and health of women and children, and began schools especially in marginalized communities. Wesley believed that people would find faith only if their stomachs were fed first. There are many places where Methodism is practiced more like a social club than a spiritual movement. Some Methodist churches are more interested in their buildings than their people.

Many Methodist churches are no longer evangelizing in their communities and are divorced from the struggles of the people living around them. I once listened at a group church conference as church leaders talked about their primary accomplishments of the past year. One church leader boasted that his congregation had purchased a new, riding lawn mower the past year. There is nothing wrong with buying a lawn mower, but that is not our purpose. God did not plant us here to have a posh lawn! God planted us here to save lives from the doubt and despair of a world without Christ. God planted us here to be the embodiment of the Gospel. This ought to be the hallmark of Methodist Churches, and our Methodist Church today.

We should be a place that encourages full faith in Jesus Christ, and a commitment to living out the Gospel. I believe we are well on our way towards the vision but we must not become complacent. I am honored and excited to be about this work with you at Vandalia First Methodist Church in 2022!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Tom


Worship Notes

January 2
Text: Romans 8: 28-39
Sermon theme: Paul speaks about separation from God due to sin and how Jesus became the means by which we are restored to God.

January 9
Text: Romans 12: 1-8
Sermon theme: What is our response to Jesus' sacrifice? By living sacrificially, ourselves. Let's get sanctified!

January 16
Text: Romans 12: 9-21
Sermon theme: Sanctification is difficult especially when we are asked to love unconditionally, not seek revenge and pray for those who are our enemies!

January 23
Text: Ephesians 5: 21-33
Sermon theme: Love and marriage! Paul, who was never married himself, writes beautifully about Christian marriage as a sacred calling. How is this different from the culture's understanding of married life?

January 30
Text: Ephesians 5: 21-33
Sermon theme: What do husbands want from their wives? How can wives love their husbands as a ministry?

February 6
Text: Ephesians 5: 21-33
Sermon theme: What do wives want from their husbands? How can husbands love their wives as a ministry?






9:30 AM Worship Service
10:40 AM Sunday School

First United Methodist Church of Vandalia :: 618.283.3684