Why John Wesley came to Georgia



John Wesley was reluctant to accept Oglethorpe’s invitation to come with him to Georgia. He did not want to leave his “Holy Club” at Oxford. So Oglethorpe told him to bring with him as many of his Methodist Club as would come. John came. His brother Charles came as did Benjamin Ingham and Charles Delemont. Some other Holy Club members had planned to come, but dropped out for various reasons, one to marry one of John’s sisters.

John wrote in his diary three reasons for coming to Georgia.

  1. To serve as pastor of the colonists, which he said later was an impossible task. There were 600 colonists spread over 300 miles, from Augusta to Cumberland Island.
  2. To preach to the Indians, which he was never allowed to do. He wanted to go to their villages, but Oglethorpe said, “No. You will be killed and scalped. And who will take care of the colonists then?”
  3. To save his soul. Wesley said, “In Georgia I will escape all the distractions and temptations of life at Oxford and London.” He thought life would be simple in the New World and he would have no temptations, especially women. He thought the women in Georgia would be so different from him that they would be like a different species altogether and he would have no temptations. He was wrong about that.

Wesley’s overall goal in Georgia was to create a Christian community like the early church out here on the frontier.


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