What is the Wesleyan Class Meeting?

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Question: What is the Wesleyan Class Meeting? 

The Class Meeting was a system of discipleship and accountability, designed by John Wesley, which was used by God to bring revival to eighteenth-century England.

The subject of the Class Meeting was personal experience. The goal of the Class Meeting was personal holiness. The Class Meeting served as a place where the 6–12 people gathered could be honest about their condition and receive loving exhortation and encouragement in their battles. It provided a forum where everyone was welcomed in an accepting environment. They would share about their previous week’s experience, thank God for progress, and honestly share their failures, temptations, or inner battles.

John Wesley believed that the Class Meeting helped to recapture several principles of New Testament Christianity.

John Wesley believed that the Class Meeting helped to recapture several principles of New Testament Christianity: (1) Personal growth within the context of intimate fellowship; (2) Accountability for spiritual stewardship; (3) “Bearing one another’s burdens”; (4) “Speaking the truth in love.” The only condition for those who wanted to be a part of the Class Meeting was a desire “to flee from the wrath to come, to be saved from their sin.”

Wesley believed the primary benefit of the Class Meeting was the prevention of backsliding. Wesley observed that those who joined the classes usually continued in the Christian way, while those who did not often fell away. Wesley wrote: “I was more convinced than ever that preaching like an Apostle, without joining together those that are awakened and training them up in the ways of God, is only begetting children for the murderer.”

Dwight L. Moody thought, “The Methodist class-meetings are the best institution for training converts this world ever saw.” To learn more, read “The History and Significance of the Wesleyan Class Meeting” or search “class meeting” at holyjoys.org.

Jon Earls
Jon Earls pastors the Bible Methodist Church in Tarrant (Birmingham), AL. He and his wife Michelle have three children. He is the author of a book of sermons on the Sermon on the Mount. He can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.