Monday, September 07, 2009


In the CTK story we see most small groups falling somewhere between being a Bible study, and being a social hang out. Some groups, of course, are Bible studies, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Other groups are purely social gatherings, and there is nothing wrong with that, either. But what we feel is "most right" for the "most people" is a group in the middle ground, that emphasizes biblical application in a social context. This type of gathering is what John Wesley called the "class."

One of the dictionary definitions for "class" is a "social group with similar opportunities." The "classes" that Wesley organized were not Bible study groups or the "sharing" groups we have come to know. They were weekly groups, led by a volunteer, in which participants gave a report to each other about their lives, their activities, their temptations, their failures, and their successes. The sharing was targeted to what it meant to be a Christ-follower. In the safety of friends, each one would be encouraged to follow after God and to do meet the needs of people in the larger community. The emphasis was on living out the Christian faith in all of life. The groups were powerful because there was an edge to the conversations - some might call it support or accountability - in every group meeting. Outsiders who would attend the meetings were struck by the spiritual authenticity and fervor. These were not ordinary people living ordinary lives. It was truly a special "class" of people.

To understand the Spirit of the "class," listen to Wesley's challenge: "Make every class meeting an exhilarating feast of divine love and holy joy and people will come no matter how tired and/or busy they are. Fire is kindled with fire and wind. Enthusiasm is kindled with enthusiasm and the Holy Spirit." Has your group become lifeless or boring? Pray for a fresh fire. Engage more deliberately. Ask daring spiritual questions. Expect transformation.

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