According to Mary Jacobs, "To gather all of the spiritual descendents of John Wesley for a family reunion, you’d need one very large tent — big enough to hold more than 75 million people."
“The entire Methodist family is much larger than the United Methodist Church, by a factor of seven or eight times,” said the Rev. William B. Lawrence, dean of Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.
Among the millions who call themselves “Methodists” are members of the United Methodist Church, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the AME Zion Church, and independent Methodist churches in other nations, such as the Korean Methodist Church or the Methodist Church of Mexico.
The tent gets even bigger when you add denominations without “Methodist” in their names but with historical ties to Methodism and John Wesley, including the Wesleyan Church, Church of God, Churh of God of Prophecy and the Pentecostal Holiness Church.
“Most United Methodists may know about the AME or the AME Zion churches, but they don’t have any clue that denominations like the Church of the Nazarene or the Salvation Army are direct descendents of the Methodism movement,” said Dr. Doug Strong, a church historian and dean of the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University. “The term ‘Wesleyan’ is much, much larger than the United Methodist Church.”
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