On July 16, 2017, we announced that The Belief Experiment is becoming Wesley Traditions, and will be part of the larger ministry of Bama Wesley. This page answers the questions that we’ve received about what this transition means for the church and its ministry. Have a question that’s not answered here? Shoot us an email at email@example.com and we’d love to talk with you further.
What exactly is changing?
The most prominent change is that our Sunday morning gathering will no longer be called The Belief Experiment, and will now be called Wesley Traditions. Behind the scenes, The Belief Experiment will no longer function as an independent entity, and instead will fall as a separate structure under the larger umbrella of Bama Wesley’s ministry.
Why are we making this change?
Ever since moving to Bama Wesley for Sunday morning worship services at the end of 2016, The Belief Experiment and Bama Wesley have not only shared space but have increasingly been part of each others’ ministries. Additionally, many of you have shared your heart for students, beginning long before we began Sunday morning services at Bama Wesley. We believe this is the most faithful and effective way to live into our mission of reaching the campus, reaching the city, and reaching the world.
How will Sunday mornings change?
In short, they won’t. Our Sunday morning leadership team will remain the same, with Wade Langer and John Fleischauer preaching, David Conour leading worship, and Ashlee Williams leading our communications efforts. You’ll see some slight changes in our branding on Sunday mornings as well as how giving is processed, but the format and style of services will remain the same.
As we look to the future, our dream is to create a safe place on Sunday mornings where students who are discerning a call to ministry can gain experience preaching and leading worship under the guidance of our pastoral team and with the support and feedback of non-students. We’ll be sharing more about this in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned!
How will Wesley Traditions differ from The Rising (Bama Wesley’s Tuesday night worship service)?
As is already the case, Wesley Traditions on Sunday mornings will have a more intimate, contemplative style than The Rising, including more acoustic music and weekly Communion. Wesley Traditions will also incorporate more liturgical elements, which is a fancy way of saying we’ll continue to say the Apostle’s Creed every week, incorporate responsive readings appropriate to the season, and other similar elements.
Additionally, while both students and non-students are welcome to attend either service, Wesley Traditions is designed to be the primary service for adults as well as graduate students and other young adults.
How does this affect Bama Wesley’s relationship with other area United Methodist churches?
Bama Wesley deeply values the support we receive from local churches and continues to be the United Methodist campus ministry to The University of Alabama. We also recognize that many students have existing relationships with other local churches (both United Methodist and non-United Methodist), and we will continue to fully support those relationships. Our hope for Wesley Traditions is that it will be a place where students who would not otherwise attend a Sunday morning service, as well as non-students looking for a church home in Tuscaloosa, can be part of a worshipping community on Sunday mornings.
As a non-student, how can I be part of other areas of ministry at Bama Wesley?
One of the most exciting parts of this change is that non-students will have increasing opportunities to connect with students through our five core ministry areas (worship, fellowship, discipleship, call discovery, and outreach). These opportunities will take a variety of forms ranging from hosting and leading small groups to participating in shared mission projects to mentoring students entering a career in a field in which our non-students may have expertise. We’ll announce these opportunities as they become available, so stay tuned!
How does this change how I give?
If you gave to The Belief Experiment in 2017, you’ll receive two giving statements at the end of the year. Moving forward, we’ll be working with those who regularly give online through either one-time or recurring donations to move those donations to Bama Wesley. If you regularly give with cash or check in service, please make sure checks are made payable to Bama Wesley and place them in the offering box as you normally would.
What if I’m a member at The Belief Experiment?
As a church plant, The Belief Experiment (and previously, Capstone United Methodist Church) has never had full members and instead has had Partners who make the fullest commitment available to support the church. If you came to us from another church where you were a member, your formal membership is likely still held at that church. If you did not come to us from another church but were baptized and took the vows of membership, please contact us so that we can help you further.