I cancelled (or postponed) my Sunday School Class on Steven W. Manskar’s wonderful book, Accountable Discipleship: Living in God’s Household, this past Sunday, because we did nor have enough participants–it was me and one other! But I will still push forward to lead this class in the next year, because I am convinced that the book is important, and the class is going to be great. There is also an excellent journal with the book, that I have adapted to use in the 6 week class.
I also have read several blogs the past month that relate very much to the topic of classes and covenant groups.
I particularly appreciated Teddy Ray’s blogs about early Methodist class meetings, starting this past week: Teddy Ray: How Is It With Your Soul?
Ray introduces the 4 questions in this entry and continues the discussion on the 27th.
Something the early Methodists were most known for was their “class meetings.” Some people call these the original church “small groups.” Many believe that they were the key to the early Methodist movement’s success and spread.
I think you can gain a lot by being a part of a group like this today. It has been the most important part of my own growth in the past five years.
He goes on to note, “In early Methodist class meetings, the leader asked everyone, him/herself included, about the condition of their souls. The groups I have led or participated in have used these 4 questions:
1 – How is it with your soul?
2 – Have you done all the good you could and avoided all the evil you could this week?
3 – How have you availed yourself of the means of grace?
4 – How can we as a group best pray for and support you?”
I have sought to develop a group, and hope to do so this Fall. The closest I have come is with some of my colleagues from Faith Alive. I have struggled to find enough men to include.
Manskar had a course at Garrett this year that sounds excellent: Planning for Renewal. He includes in the description, “Church renewal in the 21st century will come when the church realizes it does not exist for the personal benefit and blessing of its individual members. The church exists to equip Christians to participate with Christ in God’s mission (missio Dei) of restoring shalom to the world and its people.”
I would have loved to have taken that class too!