In the 1700s, John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, lived and taught the message of hope in Jesus Christ. He viewed both his congregation and the whole world as his parish. The lives of hundreds of thousands in England were transformed by the life-giving power of faith in Jesus Christ. Slavery was abolished. Hospitals were founded. Child labour reform was enacted and schools were established. Wesley’s message proved that God could turn self-centered people into self-sacrificing servants.
In 1860, a group of North American Methodists renewed Wesley’s vision to transform the world, person by person through the message of God’s saving grace, calling themselves Free Methodists. This life of love for God and all people, also known as holiness, was a key message of B.T. Roberts, an early Free Methodist Leader.
One of our most important beliefs is that Jesus’ resurrection means more than just eternal life after death. Eternal life really begins at that moment when we actively receive Christ’s promise of salvation. The Holy Spirit starts changing us so that we can live a life that pleases God. We call this entire sanctification, which really means growing closer to Jesus each day. This gives us a new attitude toward our world.
Free Methodists are global Christians. With the complexity of technology and communication, it is said that our world view can shrink as the world becomes larger. We therefore need to be reminded, challenged and encouraged to keep our eyes on global needs.
Many historians have agreed that the main reason for the tremendous impact of the Wesleyan revival in England, and subsequently in North America, was John Wesley’s innovative methods of organizing everyone into small groups. Today, small groups and our membership orientation continue to challenge believers in their faith to adopt godly standards of living and be held accountable in a spirit of love.
We want to be people so surrendered to Jesus that we will do whatever it takes – worldwide – to proclaim His offer of salvation and to alleviate suffering, because that’s what Jesus would do.
In 1993, two Canadian districts from the BC (British Columbia) coast and interior, which had been part of the Pacific Northwest Conference in the U.S., merged with the Canadian General Conference.
A further action was taken in December 1994, which merged the four Canadian Annual Conferences. Having become effective January 1, 1995, this action left one centralized location for denomination ministry and the discontinuance of regional offices.
A National Leadership Team, made up of the Bishop and five Directors (Administrative Services, Global and Intercultural Ministries, Church Planting, Personnel and Church Health) model team leadership. Network Leaders (local church pastors) lead networks of pastors. Each Network Leader has a Mentor.
Bishop Keith Elford leads the Canadian Church by election of the General Conference.