Hi! My name is Kevin Watson. I am a seminary professor and I write books both for professors and ordinary people. (Guess which category I like better?)
I am married to Melissa and we have three children. We live just outside of Atlanta, GA. I have been an Astros fan since the 1980s. Things started getting good recently, and then worse than they have ever been. I’m not ready to talk about that yet.
Why I Do What I Do
One of my deepest desires is to see people know God’s perfect love for them, find freedom from sin and shame, and move from merely surviving to absolutely thriving.
My Academic Credentials
I am a seminary professor at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. (My formal title is Associate Professor of Wesley & Methodist Studies.)
I have degrees from the University of Oklahoma (BA), Wesley Theological Seminary (MDiv), and Southern Methodist University (PhD).
What I Like About Being a Professor
My goal in teaching is to pastor students as they prepare for leadership in the church and to help them appreciate their history and connection to the broader Church. My favorite thing to do as a professor is pray with students.
What I Like About Being a Blogger
I write to encourage Christians to grow in their faith, empower community and connection through small groups, and help the church better steward its theological heritage. I often write here because something is bothering me about a current conversation in the church and I hope to sharpen my own thinking in conversation with my readers.
More On the Books I’ve Written
My most recent academic book, Old or New School Methodism? The Fragmentation of a Theological Tradition received the 2020 Book Award from the Wesleyan Theological Society.
My book The Class Meeting: Reclaiming a Forgotten (and Essential) Small Group Experience is one of Seedbed’s all-time best-selling books.
I am the sole author of four books and co-author of two more. I have published academic articles in multiple scholarly journals and a variety of ecclesial print and online publications. I enjoy freelance writing on contemporary issues facing the church, small group dynamics, Christian discipleship, and the theology and pursuit of holiness.
I have just finished a book that hopes to call the Methodist/Wesleyan family back to its great treasure, the doctrine of entire sanctification. I am also writing a textbook on the history of Methodism in the United States (contracted with Zondervan).
The first book I wrote was A Blueprint for Discipleship: Wesley’s General Rules as a Guide for Christian Living (2009). That feels like a really long time ago now! The idea for the book came during my time pastoring a United Methodist Church in Lamont, OK. The book used a short three page essay that outlined the requirements for being a member in early Methodism as a blueprint for contemporary Christian discipleship. I learned so much about publishing by writing that book. I learned from that experience that I love almost every single part of the process of writing books, from writing a proposal and pitching publishers to writing the manuscript itself and, best of all, receiving copies in the mail.
The second book I wrote for the church is The Class Meeting: Reclaiming a Forgotten (and Essential) Small Group Experience (2014). This book was published with Seedbed, a publisher that describes itself as “sowing for a Great Awakening.” My hope for this book was that it would bring Wesleyan small group formation back to the forefront of contemporary Methodist consciousness. I believe that small groups are an essential part of Christian discipleship. I have been thrilled with this book’s success. The last I heard, it is the top selling book published by Seedbed.
My first two academic books (usually referred to by academics as monographs) were published by Oxford University Press. Pursuing Social Holiness: The Band Meeting in Wesley’s Thought and Popular Methodist Experience (2014) was the first book-length study of the band meeting (a small group where people confessed their sins to each other) in early British Methodism. My second book, Old or New School Methodism: The Fragmentation of a Theological Tradition (2019), tries to pinpoint a key moment of division in American Methodism as a theological tradition. I know, I know. This book is ridiculously expensive. My editor told me I should tell you about it anyway. (If you want to know more about my work as an academic, you can download a copy of my CV on my faculty page at Candler School of Theology.)
Scott Kisker and I wrote a book together The Band Meeting: Rediscovering Relational Discipleship in Transformational Community. We wrote this book to help Christians experience the blessing of confession of sin and accountability that we have both found to be essential parts of our lives. The name band meeting may be confusing and the basic practice of confessing sin is likely to initially scare people away. (I mean, I ran away when I was first invited to join one. But I am so glad I came back.) I believe band meetings are the place where growth in the Christian life goes to the next level. God has used this group to change my life more than any other Christian discipline.
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