“Get’n saved,get’n sanctified.”Change and small groups.

Sunday school classes are becoming a thing of the past in many churches.Small groups meeting in homes are the “In thing.”Often small groups in homes are nothing more than a pooling of ignorance,doughnuts and coffee.

Historian Bruce Shelton wrote an article for the Leadership journal,”Beyond casual christianity.”One heading is,”Get’n saved,get’n sanctified.”

The American frontier was marked by a new kind of ministry:revivals and camp meetings.While fiery Presbyterian and Baptist preachers took part,this form of making disciples was perhaps most fully developed by the Wesleyans.

Wesleyan Christians believed in salvation and sanctification.While many frontier camp meetings wer about “get’n saved,”many more were about“get’n sanctified.”

John Wesley was a great revivalist.But he was a greater “methodist.”Beyond a powerful emotional experience at a preaching event,he knew how to organize converts for discipleship,for methodical progress toward deeper faith.

The Methodist system of societies,classes,and bands,and quarterly love feasts was allset up under Wesley’s watchful eye.His vision was a discipline-in-community system.At its heart was what we might call small groups.Only there is a significant difference.Today’s small groups are often feel-good fellowship without discipline..Not Wesley’s!

After 30 years Wesley’s system numbered 27,341.Exactly?Exactly.Wesley counted them.He even had little membership cards to keep track-weekly.

The “class meeting”was the conerstone of the whole structure.But don’t think of classes as instruction.They weremore like house churches,a dozen or so people meeting in neighborhoods where they lived.Class leaders(both men and women)were pastors and disciples.

Clsses normally met one evening each week for an hour or so.Each person reorted on his or her spiritual progress,or on particular needs or probles,and received tehe support and prayers of the others.

A leader had two duties each week:

1.  To meet with each person in the class to inquire how their souls prospered.

Here was spiritual counsel and exhortation.  Then came the responsibility.  the class leader then received whatever the member was willing to give to help the poor.

2.  To report to the Minister and the Stewards of the society on the progress or problems of each class member and to give the stewards what they had received from the weekly class.

This simple system became the primary means of grace for thousands of Methodists.  But, it also empowered the movement’s evangelistic and discipling mission.

(a word from hottub).If you prefer small groups or if you get nervous around large crowds..we wold welcome you to Calvary Baptist.We have a small group every sunday.Check out our web sight at www.calvarybap.com

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