The Wesleys began itinerant evangelistic preaching wherever people would stop and listen—in fields, collieries, homes, and the few churches that would allow them in. Many of the hearers were already outside the established church and, as the number of converts mounted, they gathered together in their own societies. From such was born the Methodist Church, an evangelical sect seeking reform within Anglicanism, at first. They practiced ex-tempore prayer, taught the necessity of the new birth, and emphasized the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Some of the Methodist preachers, like John Wesley, were staunchly Arminian in their theology, others such as George Whitefield and Howell Harris, remained Calvinists. Charles had no desire to abandon Anglicanism and insisted that he would die within the communion of the state church and be buried in an Anglican cemetery. Following his brother John’s death in 1791, the Methodists formally broke away and became a separate denomination.
Shortly after his conversion, Charles began writing hymns. By 1765, the constant travel and travail of itinerancy plus illness caused Wesley to settle into work in the Marlybone Parish. He visited and preached in many of the Societies around London, whenever he was able, raised a family of prodigies, and wrote hymns for the rest of his life. His hymns and sacred poetry spanned a wide range of topics and styles. He wrote many hymns based on the Psalms but put Christ in some of them, to the disagreement of some of his supporters. He wrote hymns for children, picking up where Isaac Watts had left off. A number of his hymns became classics and are sung today in every sort of Protestant Church.
Some of the greatest favorites of the ages include, And Can it Be that I Should Gain, Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing, etc. Such blessed hymns cannot be accredited to pure genius alone, the author knew personally of whom he wrote.