How Did Methodism Come About?

Methodism has at its roots one person whose vision, determination and faith inspired fellow seekers to re-assess their lives and renew their relationship with God. John Wesley (1703 - 1791) challenged the religious assumptions of his day, urging those to whom he preached to 'trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation' for the assurance that we are all forgiven through Christ.

When John Wesley was at Oxford University, he was part of a small group of students who held regular meetings for Bible study, prayer and Communion. This earned them the nickname 'The Holy Club' or 'Methodists'.

Wesley became a priest in the Church of England, but in 1738 had a spiritual experience that he described as God working in his heart through faith in Christ. He launched a hugely influential preaching ministry and had a flair for organising people into small groups. These he named classes, with locally appointed preaches and leaders, which studied the gospels and prayed together. Wesley's new movement became a separate Church, which grew rapidly throughout the 18th century and afterwards.

Today, there are about 6,500 Methodist Churches in Britain. These churches have a total membership of about 350,000 people.

There are around 1 million people in Britain who in one way or another have a connection with the Methodist Church. There are 70 million such people across the world.