Ministry and Itinerancy in Methodism

Dennis M. Campbell

in The Oxford Handbook of Methodist Studies

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199696116
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Ministry and Itinerancy in Methodism


This article considers ministry and itinerancy within the Methodist tradition. Over the course of more than two hundred years, there has been perpetual tension within Methodism with regard to the meaning of ordination, orders of ministry, education for ministry, relationships between ordained members and lay members, and the normative significance of tradition. The theological idea of itinerancy is a hallmark of official ministry in Methodism; but its meaning and practice have evolved through the years, as practical matters of polity – shaped by social, demographic, economic, and institutional realities – have prevailed. The article begins with a historical overview of Methodist ministry in England. It then discusses the initiation of Methodist ministerial orders for America, theological and practical considerations of Methodist ministerial orders, the nature of authority for Methodist ministerial orders, the theological meaning and practical reality of itinerancy, and ministry and itinerancy as theological realities in Methodism.

Keywords: Methodists; Methodist tradition; ordination; ministerial orders; education; theology

Article.  7609 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity

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