These are words you might see us use or refer to in articles, resources, and prompt descriptions. None of these definitions are, or could be, all-encompassing. Each term has had dozens of books written to explore and explain it. We are hoping, instead, with a few broad strokes, to provide an idea of how the terms are being used.
Affections: Affections refers to two things. First, affections are desires. Holy affections, therefore, are desires or loves rightly ordered to the service of God and neighbor. Second, affections are emotions, dispositions, inclinations, and temperament that make up our psychological condition. Holy affections, therefore, are the psychological affects of God the Father's revelation of his love in Christ and the gifts of faith and love by his Spirit.
Calling/Vocation: The call of God has two basic forms. The first is the general call that God extends to all people inviting them to turn from the self-inflicted misery of sin to a new life of peace and holiness through following Christ as his disciple. The second form is the particular call that God extends to each individual to use her distinctive combination of gifts and talents as a ministry of love and service to the world that bears witness to God's ongoing work in the world.
Christian Imagination: The Christian's imagination is the ability to envision re-imagine reality in the light of God's self-revelation in Christ's incarnation, death, and resurrection. It is to see the world through the lens of the Gospel with its declaration of God's mighty works in Christ Jesus and to believe that God is continuing to perform mighty works through his Church. By the Holy Spirit, we are inspired to engage the world imaginatively creating new works of worship, compassion, and service that reveal the power and love of God.
Church: Church is the community of the baptized who are united, not by race or class or nationality or political affiliation, but by a shared confession that God the Father through the forgiveness of sins offered by his Son and through the gift of the Holy Spirit has adopted us as his children. Scripture calls this community of believers the Body of Christ because we are Christ's visible presence in the world as his Holy Spirit works within us that through our works of worship, compassion, and service the Father's love might be revealed to the world.
The church: The church is a gathering of disciples who hear the Word of God, receive the sacraments of grace and participate in God's mission. The church is both organic (body of Christ) and institutional (ordered ministry). Scripture calls this community of believers the Body of Christ because we are Christ's visible presence in the world as his Holy Spirit works within us that through our works of worship, compassion, and service the Father's love might be revealed to the world.
Creativity: Christian creativity is our participation in God's creative work that was begun with his fashioning of the cosmos in the beginning and now is being brought to completion as the new creation begun with Christ's incarnation, death, and resurrection. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we are inspired to be creative by imagining and fashioning new expressions of God's love in the world.
Experience: Human beings encounter God’s love and grace through emotions, thoughts and insights that shape our lives and help us know the spiritual realities that shape our world; we focus on the ways in which Christians are shaped to interpret our experience in the light of “new birth” in Christ.
Fresh Expressions: The church as the body of Christ is taking new forms in our culture today as people find fresh ways of worshipping, studying Scripture, joining in community and serving God’s missional purposes. Learn more about a group of folks doing that in the US here.
Grace: God’s love is given to every human being through the work of the Holy Spirit regardless of whether they deserve it or not, where God is forming each person to become the mature person God expects them to be.
Holiness: Holiness is the quality of living in such a way that everything one thinks, says and does is shaped by love of God and love of neighbor.
Holy Friendship: As followers of Jesus seek holiness, we depend on intimate relationships in which others challenge the sins we have come to love, affirm the gifts we are afraid to claim, and help us dream dreams we otherwise wouldn’t have dreamed. Wesleyans have cultivated these relationships in class meetings and other small group gatherings that nurture faithful discipleship. Read more here.
Justification: God offers a saving relationship to people who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and decide to follow him, thereby becoming one of Christ’s disciples. According to John Wesley justification involves pardon and forgiveness as well as reconciliation with God.
Lifelong learning: Passionately engaging life through all the through all the senses and through all life stages, so that one grows and develops all one's life in a way that cultivates intimate knowledge and love of God.
Means of Grace: God's abundant grace is available to all, and is accessed - not earned - and received through Christian practices that open us up to that grace.
Practices: Christian practices are things Christian people do with one another over time to address fundamental human needs in the light of and in response to God’s active presence for the life of the world.
Prevenient Grace: The grace that "goes before," before we are even aware it exists; God's attracting us, calling us to a relationship with Him.
Reason: Using one's God given mind and mental powers to think coherently about life and God and the world, especially as we learn through relationship with God.
Redemption: Restoring the relationship with God that has been lost. God invites all of God’s creation to receive redemption from sin, evil, and brokenness in light of the separation that was introduced between God and creation. God in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit yearns for all creation to enjoy redeemed and reconciled relationships with God and neighbor.
Reign of God: The authority and governance of God over all things. The reign of God is most fully demonstrated through proper love (worship) of God, love of neighbor and love of enemy. God’s reign is fully embodied in Jesus Christ and derivatively shown through the ministry of Christ’s Body, the Church. God’s reign is both already and not yet. It is already in that God’s reign was initiated in the life, death, and ministry of Jesus Christ and God’s creation is invited to participate in its unfolding. God’s reign is also not yet in that it is still unfolding. Sin, evil, and brokenness continue to exist in the world. However, God invites humankind (and creation) to participate with the Holy Spirit in the full realization of God’s reign on earth.
Resurrection: The definitive, conclusive evidence of God’s power over death and God’s enacting the New Creation. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ shows the goodness of physical creation and the promise of creation’s transformation. Jesus’ resurrection shows the first fruits of God’s promise to make this life available, through Christ, to all persons.
Salvation: The wholeness, health and holiness that comes to the world through the atoning work of Jesus Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Salvation touches all aspects of life, personal (individual), communal, social, and cosmic. Salvation life is the journey of discipleship toward the fullness of the new creation.
Sanctification: The process of being set apart for God’s (holy) purposes, to serve the present age. Sanctification also refers to the renewal of the divine image in human beings through the Holy Spirit’s work. Sanctification’s goal is the full manifestation of God’s Reign on earth as it is in heaven. Sanctification therefore involves a state of being, a process, and the cultivation of habits through faithful practices of discipleship.
Sin: Both a state of being and actions (the actions reveal the state) that show the perversity of human will, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Sin touches all dimensions of human life. It can be understood as both rebellion and disease. Sin takes the best of intentions and twists them away from God’s purposes. Evil is the term often used to refer to corporate or large-scale sin.