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Pursuing Social Holiness: The Band Meeting in Wesley’s Thought and Popular Methodist Practice is now available in paperback! This is good news because it means the book is much more reasonably priced. The book was initially published in a hardcover edition that was listed at $78. And many of you let me hear about it!

Because of the initial price of the book, I have tended not to promote it too much when I speak within the church. Now that it is available in a more economical format, I want to let you know about it. The retail price for the paperback edition is $35. I know this is still not cheap, but it is about as good as it gets for an academic book. Right now you can save 30% off the paperback edition. Click here and use the promotional code AAFLYG6.

This book is a revision of the work I did for my PhD dissertation and is the product of several years of research and writing on the band meeting in early British Methodism. The book is the only study of meaning and significance of the band meeting in Methodism that has been written.

I’ve been speaking quite a bit over the past few years on the role of Christian conferencing, social holiness, the class meeting, and the band meeting in a variety of contexts. I have focused on the class meeting in my recent writing for the church because the class meeting is the most appropriate entry point for transformation-driven small groups for people who don’t have much experience with them. My recent focus on the class meeting does not mean that I don’t think the band meeting was important too! The band meeting, which was focused on confession of sin for the sake of growth in holiness, was crucial for early Methodism and its mission to “spread scriptural holiness.” Methodists need to know this history and wrestle with its potential relevance for contemporary Christian formation.

Here’s a summary of the book from the back cover:

Kevin M. Watson offers the first in-depth examination of an essential early Methodist tradition: the band meeting, a small group of five to seven people who focused on the confession of sin in order to grow in holiness. Watson shows how the band meeting, which figured significantly in John Wesley’s theology of discipleship, united Wesley’s emphasis on the importance of holiness with his conviction that Christians are most likely to make progress in the Christian life together, rather than in isolation. Watson explores how Wesley synthesized important aspects of Anglican piety and Moravian piety in his own version of the band meeting. Pursuing Social Holiness is an essential contribution to understanding the critical role of the band meeting in the development of British Methodism and shifting concepts of community in eighteenth-century British society.

Here is what some noted scholars in Methodist Studies have said about Pursuing Social Holiness:

This is a brilliant study of one of the foundational institutions of eighteenth-century Methodism…. Anyone who wants to understand the rise of Methodism should give this account careful consideration. This is a book we have long needed.

– John Wigger, author of American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists

This groundbreaking study offers the most detailed account to date of band meetings in early Wesleyan Methodism…. Highly recommended.

– Randy Maddox, William Kellon Quick Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, Divinity School

Watson’s work on the band meeting is the definitive history of this practice of small-group confession within eighteenth-century English evangelicalism…. This is a must-have for scholars of Methodism and eighteenth-century religious history.

– Scott Kisker, Associate Dean of Residential Programs and Professor of Church History, United Theological Seminary

I hope you will consider picking up a copy of this book in order to learn more about one of the core practices of early Methodists in their pursuit of social holiness.