We want to know and be known. The gift is the reclaiming of the Wesley Class Meeting as the primary disciple growing tool. If this is a hunger in your heart, then this book by Dr. Richard J. Wills, Jr. The intent of this book is to be practiced, not merely read.
This powerful practice must be reclaimed, but not just for adults, for all ages. Jeremy W.
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This post is the second post on this topic. Well, he did not actually use the phrase.
John Wesley - Wikipedia
When Wesley talks about Christian Conference as a concept, he is generally talking about how Christians ought to converse with one another. My argument here, then, is that Christian Conference should be understood to be a concept that is located within a particular understanding of communal formation. If you divorce the concept from the way it is located in a particular set of practices, you no longer have the full Wesleyan understanding of Christian Conference.
How did Wesley understand Christian Conference as a general concept? Here is what Wesley says about Christian Conference:. Christian Conference. Are we convinced how important and how difficult it is to order our conversation right? Is it always in grace? Seasoned with salt? Meet to minister grace to the hearers? Do we not converse too long at a time?
Is not an hour at a time commonly enough? Would it not be well to plan our conversation beforehand? To pray before and after it? Wesley, Works, This passage is interesting because it consists entirely of questions. It does not clearly define what Christian Conference is. We can only discern what it is by inferring what the questions imply. For the most part, this is relatively easily done with these particular questions. For example, Wesley believes that Christian Conferencing should usually be limited to an hour and it should be started and concluded with prayer.
Instead of talking about what Christian Conference is, he focuses on a few ways the practice could be improved. Andrew C. Thompson for pointing me to this. For Wesley, Christian Conference was grounded in his emphasis on the importance of Christian communal formation, or social holiness. Several of the questions where Wesley discusses Christian Conference as an instituted means of grace suggest that Wesley was thinking of something like the class and band meetings. He also pointed to the need to limit the duration of the meetings.
Consider, for example, the following passage where Wesley discussed the benefits of the class meeting:. It can scarce be conceived what advantages have been reaped from this little prudential regulation. Many now happily experienced that Christian fellowship of which they had not so much as an idea before. Scholars have argued that for Wesley Christian Conference and Christian fellowship are nearly synonymous.
Thanks, again, to Andrew Thompson for pointing me to this. The place where this kind of conversation was expected to happen in early Methodism would have been obvious: the class meeting and the band meeting. Neither your class or band? As I began working on this, I emailed Dr. Randy L. Maddox and asked him for his thoughts on Christian Conference. But why is the class meeting listed explicitly as a prudential means of grace for Methodists, and not also as an instituted means of grace for all Christians? Wesley clearly acknowledged that the class meeting was not prescribed by Jesus.
However, he did believe that something like the class meeting was. So, Wesley did believe that the general idea of small groups focused on our lives as followers of Christ was a general principle for all Christians. The class meeting was simply the particular way that Methodists were living out this principle. Christian Conference was honest, direct, piercing conversation with other Christians that was intended to help the participants grow in holiness. These conversations were most obviously situated within the weekly class meetings and band meetings.
This relates to the first post on the contemporary use of holy conferencing, then, because Christian Conferencing was not generally understood to be having a one-time polite conversation about a controversial subject. Kevin M. You can keep up with this blog on twitter kevinwatson or on facebook at Vital Piety. Class Meetings , Seedbed , small groups. Seedbed has just posted a press release to their website about the book I will be publishing with them on the class meeting. You can read the entire release here. The purpose of the book is to help people form class meetings.
In order to accomplish this purpose, the book provides an introduction to the class meeting and its central role for the early Methodist movement, as well as a practical guide to reclaiming this distinct kind of small group. The book is designed to be an eight week small group resource that helps a group to actually become a class meeting.
The hope is that after the book is over, the group will continue meeting as a class meeting. In the speaking I have done on the class meeting in various contexts, people have consistently asked me to recommend a resource that would help them guide a group toward becoming a class meeting.
These requests, and the lack of a resource that is focused on a return to the class meeting, led me to write this book. My hope is that The Class Meeting will help people to actually start life-changing class meetings, not just learn about the small groups that were at the heart of early Methodism. I am very excited about this book! I believe the class meeting continues to have enormous potential for Christian discipleship in this time and place.
And from many of the conversations that have occurred here, I know that many of you do too. The leadership is interested in forming the early Methodist Church use of class meetings. One reason they have decided to use this model is its history of success within the early Methodist Church. They believe that using this model will help build relationships within the church and make them stronger. They believe with stronger relationships, the laity will have a stronger commitment to be engaged with the church and the community.
They believe these groups will be life-changing for all who participate.
Disciples follow Jesus. They are sent out in ministry by Jesus. They heal the sick. They feed the poor.nantrinisea.tk
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They tell people about Jesus and what he has done. A disciple experiences life transformation not only at conversion, but as one grows in their love for God and one another. Many in the church stop with justification, but as Wesleyans we are called to grow in the image of Christ and become holy as God is holy. Holiness is a life consumed by Christ. Next, I will personally invite those individuals who are already seeking a deeper relationship with God to become class leaders.
This should encourage the laity to be more involved in the church. In, The Class Meeting , Dr.
Watson writes how the leaders of the class meetings are being trained to be more than just class leaders but also leaders of the church. From my experience, this is needed as fewer people are moving into leadership positions in the church. After training the leaders, they will be encouraged to invite people to join their own groups.
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Also, the invitation will be offered on a temporary basis. The leader will ask the invitee to come for four weeks before he or she decides to permanently participate. This will allow members to ease into the group.