Recently, I have had several opportunities to speak at churches about Wesleyan small groups. I have been encouraged by the desire that many pastors and laity have had to start something like a class meeting. On several occasions I have had further conversations with people about what it might look like for them to actually begin a class meeting. A common refrain I have heard when I have talked about the Wesleyan method for making disciples of Jesus Christ has been something like, “This all sounds great, but how would you actually do this today?”
Based on the things that people have said to me, I have been surprised at how easy it has been to convince people that the class meeting was of vital importance to the success of early Methodism. Rather than doubting the value of the class meeting, people seem to want concrete guidance on the steps to reclaiming this practice.
In light of this, I am going to write a series of posts called, The Methodist Class Meeting for the 21st century. This series will focus on topics such as: What were the nuts and bolts of the early Methodist class meeting? What are the primary obstacles to starting something like a class meeting? What ingredients are necessary for starting a healthy class meeting? How do you start a class meeting? How do you maintain the vitality of an established class meeting?
I also want to solicit your questions. Are there questions that you have about class meetings? I welcome both historical and practical questions. Feel free to either leave your questions as a comment on this post, or email me directly at deeplycommitted at gmail dot com.
I look forward to the conversation.
Andrew Conard said:
Kevin – I am excited for this series of posts. A few questions that I have:
* What is the difference between a class meeting and a small group?
* What is the purpose of the class meeting?
* Do class meetings stay together with the same participants or do they invite and divide, start new, etc?
* Is the class meeting intended to be the first point of contact in the faith community?
Thanks for engaging in this series!
This is really exciting! Once this gets going, I may just direct the student leaders at Wesley to this! You rock!
Pingback: The Methodist Class Meeting for the 21st Century: The Foundation « deeply committed
Spencer Smith said:
Thanks for doing this work here…
I’m like Andrew and am wondering about the relationship to a class meeting and what would now normally be called a small group.
– what is the role of Christian education in the class meeting?
– why did a model heavily dependent on Christian education (Sunday School) replace the class meeting?
– How did people join the class meeting? were they open or closed? How did they start new class meetings?
– how were they chosen?
– what was expected of them?
– how did the emergence of paid clergy affect them?
Pingback: Small Groups, old-school Methodist style « Are We Yet Alive?
Jonathan Andersen said:
Are there differences in these and what many of us would call “accountability groups”?
How are members selected for each group?
Is it best to have wide age-range or similar age-ranges?
How do groups multiply/divide?
In an existing church trying to implement this or a new church start, would it be best to inform all new members that this participation is an expectation, a way to grow in faith voluntarily, or what?
Keep us updated. I’m in a similar meeting at Duke Divinity with some other students and would love some direction and ideas of how to help this spread.
Pingback: The Methodist Class Meeting for the 21st Century: Why Classes? « deeply committed
Pingback: Methodist Discipleship « mattjudkins
Pingback: Speedlinking – August 13, 2010 « Thoughts of Resurrection
My question is, how do you start such a group when there is no community already existing in my area ?
Pingback: The Methodist Class Meeting for the 21st Century: Why Classes? « Vital Piety
Pingback: The Methodist Class Meeting for the 21st Century: The Foundation « Vital Piety
Pingback: Exploring Early Wesleyan Movement in Youth Ministry : the Class Meeting
Ray Sison said:
I’m a United Methodist minister from the Philippines. Looking forward to your posts on this topic. Blessings!