Early Methodist gatherings were called
'societies'. John Wesley encouraged different kinds of small group
to develop, so that both leaders and members of the societies could
receive support and challenge in their faith.
These groups, called 'classes' and 'bands' met
regularly, and the idea was to be accountable to each other about
how each person was living the Christian life. So people had to be
very open and willing to be changed by the experience.
In the twentieth century it became less common
for classes to meet in this way, but recently many Methodists have
been trying to reclaim this tradition.
The supportive small group has been found to be
one of the most powerful ways for people to feel that they belong
and to learn and grow.
Many Methodist churches have home fellowships,
Bible studies and house groups. Increasingly they are seeking in
various ways to renew and expand the opportunities for Christian
conversation about the things that matter.
You can download a leaflet called Resurrecting the Classes
here. Resurrecting the Classes explores the tradition of small
groups in Methodist history, explains how they connect with the
more recent development of cell church and gives lots of practical
advice about doing small groups well.
Some churches have been re-thinking the
whole way their church is structured, and have put small groups at
the centre, through Cell Church. See www.celluk.org.uk
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Make a Journey of Faith
What is the Methodist Church?
What do Methodists believe?
What happens during Methodist worship?
Can I get married in a Methodist Church?
Can my baby be baptized in a Methodist Church?
You'll find the answers to these and other
questions in Make a Journey of Faith - a short
introduction to the Methodist Church.
free Make a Journey of Faith ebook
epub file* Right-click and choose 'Save Target As'.
For churches wishing to deepen their welcome to
visitors and newcomers, a printed edition of the booklet is
available from Methodist Publishing. It is priced £5
(plus postage and packaging) and sold in packs of 50.