Leadership in the Wesleyan Spirit


Leadership in the Wesleyan Spirit book coverThe purpose of this book is simple — to reclaim a vision for church leadership from the great spiritual awakening known as the Wesleyan movement. Yet the way one goes about this work, contends Lovett H. Weems, Jr., is anything but simple. It involves walking a tightrope between continuity and change.

The task is neither to repeat the past, nor to ignore it. Rather the need is to locate the genius behind the achievements of the past from which we can learn for our day. It is to choose selectively those themes and emphases of the Wesleyan movement that can best inform the practice of ministry today, and to seek to grow into them.

In order to achieve this, Weems identifies such principles of early Wesleyanism as beginning with where people are, focusing on service, and remembering the poor. He then enumerates practices of Wesleyan leadership, such as leading from the center and the edge, living in tension, and making “connection” happen. Finally, he names the core passions of the Wesleyan spirit: knowing God, proclaiming Christ, and seeking justice.


“This book expresses a passionate hope,and an underlying plea, that Methodism — and all the heirs of the Methodism movement — will make a new future based on its tried and true foundations.”
— William B. McClain, Wesley Theological Seminary

“Leadership in the Wesleyan Spirit offers no quick fix or simple panacea for the church’s ills, but rather wise, detailed counsel from a seasoned observer on how, by orienting Wesleyan movements to their own genius, by respecting the gifts and grace of an increasingly diverse people, and by drawing creatively on the tensions in the connection, leaders can reawaken and reenergize the Methodist evangelical spirit.”
— Russell E. Richey, Duke Divinity School

“Lovett H. Weems, Jr., encourages church leaders to move beyond the impasse of contemporary theological debates and reclaim the rich resources of the Wesleyan heritage. … This is a wise and helpful work.”
— Jean Miller Schmidt, Iliff School of Theology

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About Author

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

Lovett H. Weems Jr. is senior consultant at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, distinguished professor of church leadership emeritus at Wesley Theological Seminary, and author of several books on leadership.