A Moment for Mission
“We have also received an inheritance in Christ. … We are called to be an honor to God’s glory because we were the first to hope in Christ.” — Ephesians 1:11-12, CEB
Inspired in 2014 by “The Class Meeting, Reclaiming a Forgotten (and Essential) Small Group Experience” by Kevin M. Watson, I assembled a group of six men—lay and clergy. I purposely made this a group of strangers who would probably disagree and see any subject from six different angles. Since group members lived in different states, our eight-week study of the principles of class meetings was 100 percent online. If it worked for us, I thought, it probably would work for others.
Seven years later, four members of the original group still meet with me every week. We don’t study the Bible or discuss other subjects. We do what John Wesley asked his congregants to do: talk about our experiences with God.
We always meet the same day and time, and for one hour. It is one of the most valuable hours of my week. These class meetings are the most transformational groups I have ever led or experienced.
The class meeting is what made the “Methodist movement” a movement.
I pray we can be that dynamic movement again, using modern technology, so that all have an “on-growing” relationship with Jesus Christ.
On Men’s Ministry Sunday, we celebrate men’s ministry within and beyond the local church. This includes organized United Methodist Men units, as well as other places and organizations where men gather for fellowship, nurture, spiritual development, witness and outreach.
The class meeting might be the perfect place to start.
Loving God, you gave us an inheritance and hope in Christ. Show us new ways to nurture your disciples and, in the process, grow in our relationship with you. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Seventh Sunday after Pentecost — Generous and Giving God, you have poured your blessings on us as the rain soaks the sun-parched grass of our lawns. You have lavished us with redemption, forgiveness, and grace. When you send the rain to water the grass, you expect growth in return. Remind us this day, as we make our gifts to you, that we have been blessed for a purpose – that we might be a blessing to others. May we grow in compassion, in mercy, in longing for justice and love, as Christ loved us. In that holy name, we pray. Amen. (Ephesians 1:3-14)
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many things shut down, I got a crazy idea. “Let’s start four additional class meetings,” I suggested, “with a stipulation that after the initial eight-week study, each participant must promise to start his own class meeting in his context.”
I enjoy the teaching, but most of all, I enjoy the outcome.
Put simply, these groups focus on questions about the previous seven days and plans for the next seven days. “Where have you seen Christ?” “How is it with your soul?” “When did you feel called to act and how did that work out?” and “How will you be different next week?”
These meetings center on ways to put discipleship into action. It is not about knowing more; it is about doing more.
We need to be active members of the kingdom of God. It is good when a group helps us know more, but it is better when a vital group emboldens us to do more.
Adapted from “The Saving Grace of the Wesleyan Class Meeting” by Gil Hanke. Used by permission.