Back to basics: A warmed heart and methodical study of the Word

What does being a Methodist mean to you
Keith Tan is a member of Holland Village Methodist Church, and a member of the MCS Council on Communications

I stumbled into the Methodist Church almost by accident in 1996.

My now-wife, whom I was dating at the time, was a non-practising Catholic and I was from a charismatic church. We needed to find a middle ground and made the rounds with different churches, until we found a place we both felt comfortable with—Faith Methodist Church (MC).

Since then, where circumstances and ministry opportunities led, we went. And we now call Holland Village MC home.

I grew up in a Bible-Presbyterian church, which saw my family through the toughest of times, and was strongly influenced by the 14 years that I was in Anglican schools. So, I’m always asked, what attracted you to become a Methodist and stay one?

For me, it was the membership class at Faith MC that was the inflection point. What stood out to me were two things:

  • the story of John Wesley who had the experience of having his “heart strangely warmed”.
  • the commitment to a methodical devotion and study as a key part of the practise of Methodism.

In my journey as a Christian, I’ve always enjoyed when worship is spirit-filled and the emotional high that comes with a fiery message is preached or when a worship service comes with the theatrics that modern technology afford us. But in the end, being a Christian isn’t about the religiosity or the showmanship, it comes down to a commitment to our relationship with God.

When the lights and sound is stripped away and when life buffets me, I always come back to this—a warm heart and a commitment to methodical devotion and study of the Word.

So what does being a Methodist mean to me? It means getting back to the fundamentals of a relationship with our Creator; to be meaningfully anchored to these two basic tenets when life sometimes loses meaning.

Keith Tan is a member of Holland Village Methodist Church, and a member of the MCS Council on Communications. / Photo courtesy of Keith Tan