"What does it mean to be a United Methodist?" The answer to this question, says Kenneth H. Carter, Jr., is to live a particular way of life and follow a particular form of discipleship. The distinctive aspects of that way of discipleship are contained in what has recently come to be known as "the practices." Christian practices are things done together, over time, in response to God's grace. They constitute an extended argument against some harmful alternative in the culture; they address and define a fundamental human need; they come to focus in worship; and they add up to a way of life. Carter contends that there are 6 essential practices in the United Methodist tradition: (1) searching the scriptures, (2) generosity with the poor, (3) testimony, (4) singing, (5) Holy Communion, and (6) Christian conferencing.
Written primarily for those who lead in United Methodist congregations, this book will give the reader not only an understanding of what the central United Methodist practices are, but also how they can be taught. Being formed in and by these practices does not happen overnight; it happens across a lifetime of observing the practices in others and trying them out oneself. Neglecting the Christian practices--failing to attend to them--can mean a life devoid of much of the purpose and power that life in the Spirit can hold.