Wesley resolved not to preach where he could not include everyone in class meetings for spiritual community

This entry is part 40 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

John Wesley’s Societies did not practice ministry to strangers, but ministry that created community through long term relationships of influence. To convert people without the relational support that will disciple them fully toward sanctification is like fathering children and then abandoning them. Wesley resolved not to preach where he could not include everyone in class meetings for spiritual community:

I was more convinced then ever that the 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. How much preaching has there been for these twenty years all over Pembrokeshire! But no regular societies, no discipline, no order or connexion; and the consequence is, that nine in ten of the once-awakened are now faster asleep than ever.[1]

Acts of evangelism and acts of mercy to strangers, as they do not result in ongoing relationships that heal, support and spiritually nurture, are fundamentally selfish acts. Stranger evangelism does not make disciples that make disciples that make disciples.





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through CreateSpace.com.

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]John Wesley, “Journal” (August 25, 1763), The Works of John Wesley, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 3:144. This reflects a 90% loss of the faithful when there is worship available in the parish church without participation in a cell type community as a means of sanctifying grace.

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