Five Means of Grace: Leader Guide

Experience God's Love the Wesleyan Way

Book - Paperback
Five Means of Grace: Leader Guide
Paperback ISBN: 9781501835551
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E-Book ISBN: 9781501835568
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Published September 2017

Wesley showed us ways to reorder our lives through the “means of grace.”

John Wesley gave the Methodist movement (and all Christians in general) a discipleship pathway to follow. Wesley began with Three Simple Rules (or “General Rules”), and followed this instruction a year later with the Five Marks of a Methodist (or “Character of a Methodist”). Wesley observed the need for continuous renewal of relationships with God and others, so he established a recurring annual process for God’s people to make One Faithful Promise: The Wesleyan Covenant for Renewal. The study by Heath turns to the practices at the center of Wesley’s understanding of spiritual growth: the means of grace.

This book/study guides readers through the five means of grace that John Wesley called “instituted,” meaning these are spiritual practices in which Jesus himself participated and which he encouraged his followers to do. One of the beautiful aspects of Wesley’s theology is that spiritual practices are seamlessly integrated with practices of loving our neighbors well. This is why Wesley said there is no holiness but social holiness. A life of genuine prayer inevitably leads to a life of hospitality, mercy, and justice.

Through this book/study participants will consider how each of the five means of grace help us as communities of faith to pray more deeply and live more missionally as followers of Jesus Christ. These means are the ordinary channels that God uses to draw us into a fruitful relationship. These five means or channels are:

1. Prayer
2. Searching Scripture
3. Receiving the Lord’s Supper
4. Fasting
5. Conferencing (communion, fellowship)

"Surely John Wesley wanted his teachings to be presented in clear and
understandable ways. Elaine Heath’s teaching on the Five Means of Grace are
simple and engaging with deep truths. Your group will love it!" -
Jennifer Cowart (Executive pastor at Harvest Church, a United Methodist
congregation in Warner Robins, GA, near Macon.) She co-preaches and
directs Discipleship and Emerging Ministries at Harvest UMC.

Heath is one of the church’s great teachers and prophets. With engaging
stories and clear understanding of Scripture she invites us to
experience God’s love through ancient practices that we desperately
need. I will be using Five Means of Grace with my congregation
as an invitation for those seeking a deeper pathway into discipleship."
- Rev. Jacob Armstrong, Providence United Methodist Church, Mount
Juliet TN.

About the Author

Elaine A. Heath

Elaine A. Heath is a theologian whose work is interdisciplinary, integrating pastoral, biblical, and spiritual theology in ways that bridge the gap between academy, church, and world. Her current research interests focus on community as a means of healing trauma, emergent forms of Christianity, and alternative forms of theological education for the church in rapidly changing contexts.

Heath is the author of numerous books and articles, the most recent of which is Healing the Wounds of Sexual Abuse: Reading the Bible with Survivors (2019), a republication with updates of a previous volume: We Were the Least of These: Reading the Bible with Survivors of Sexual Abuse (2011). She also recently served as general editor of the Holy Living series.