In studying for my upcoming field exam in 17th and 18th century British and American Church History, I came across this quote from Sydney Ahlstrom’s A Religious History of the American People(which is, incidentally, an excellent survey of American Religious History):

“So long as it prospered, the class meeting was the institution which did most to guarantee that church membership was not merely a nominal affiliation.” (373)

I am guessing that Ahlstrom would not be surprised, then, that Methodist membership today is far too often nominal.