A lawyer who was around 35 years old, a graduate of one of the oldest and best institutions, and the owner of a sizable wealth by inheritance served as the leader of the “Young Men’s Class” in a city church. He had the appearance of a man of distinction in any company—tall, graceful in movement, with very bright dark eyes, features that united power and delicacy, and heavy black hair over a light brow. His voice was rich and soothing, and it radiated the same compelling quality as the rest of him. He had endured hardships despite his youth. He was naturally passionate, and his face revealed signs of both sorrow and internal turmoil. He studied the Bible every day in the original Greek and frequently while on his knees because he was a serious student of it. About thirty young guys made up his class, and they all treated him with both respect and tenderness. They were all drawn into an intensely personal relationship with him, but the sadness that overshadowed him prevented them from displaying the levity that typically characterizes the interactions of young men who are close friends. His enthusiasm for leading the class gave everyone in the room a warm feeling. His introductory prayer appeared to bring God so close that even the most reserved people forgot about conventions due to an overwhelming sense of supernatural truths. His class leadership displayed two divergent features. His empathetic side as well as his martial side occasionally burst forth with equal speed. His eye would light up and his voice would ring out like a captain’s scream in combat as he urged a young soldier of the cross. More than one devoted watchman who was inspired by this devout Class-lofty leader’s Christian fervor is currently stationed on Zion’s walls. His ability to recognize sadness and his empathy for it were equally outstanding. He had great insight along this line. His heart was tuned to grief, and when it appeared in others, it made his heart vibrate. His keen hearing quickly picked up “the moaning of broken reeds,” and he skillfully and sensitively applied the potent solace. A odd young man initially showed up in his class one evening. He replied succinctly as he felt when asked when engaged in a difficult struggle and under the shadow of a deep bereavement. The leader’s few remarks in response filled him with a deep conviction that God was at work in everything and that he had come to a somber crisis, a turning point, in his life. He sensed that the Classleader had been able to read his heart. After the class meeting ended, the young guy left the church and made his way to his hotel. He had only taken a few steps when an arm was forced into him and a voice whispered, “It’s time for you to depart.”

“If you don’t mind, I’ll go home with you,” you said.

The class leader was there. He stayed with the young stranger until well after midnight, and by the time they parted, they had become Christian friends who would remain so forever.

Another Class Leader, a middle-aged merchant with auburn hair, wide blue eyes, and a smile that made his visage noticeably lighter all over, lived in the same city. His talent was a lovely singing voice. He knew every good music and every one of the greatest hymns by heart. He led his class in songs of support, consolation, counsel, reproof, and education. For each situation, he had a poem prepared. It’s amazing how much material in our Weslejan hymnology is appropriate for this usage. It is almost the ideal armory for a class leader of this type’s gear. This melodious leader would sing, “Am I a soldier of the cross,” to a song with a martial ring, if a brother indicated hopelessness or fear. He would sing “There is rest for the weary” so sweetly that the burdened soul was soothed into a blessed tranquility if someone confessed to tiredness from life’s heavy burdens. When a classmate parted ways with the group for the last time before going on to another location and saying goodbye to his friends with a broken voice and a melting heart, the leader would start singing “When shall we all meet again?” by the time he got to the last verse.-

When our task of life is said,
When its wasted lamps are dead,
Where immortal spirits reign,
There we all shall meet again

—there was a precious impression and remembrance for all future life. In the lengthy years that have followed, with all of their disputes and sorrows, the echo of that voice has carried a melody from the past into the melancholy and discord of the dispersed members of this Class. A successful class leader, this singer.

There was a class leader in a different city, hundreds of miles away, who could not for the life of him sing a single note, but whose gift was a limitless mastery of biblical language and exceptional perfection in its application.

These arrows were numerous in his quiver, and he always had one on hand. He had a huge build, an expression of great solemnity on his face, and a voice to match. He also has the gift of crying. That fount was kept inflamed by his own miserable life. All of his children had been laid to rest, one by one, and other tragedies had left their marks on him. Leading merchant in his class lamented how his business consumed him and left him with no energy or time for religion. The elderly class leader addressed the busy man while looking at him intently and speaking through tears.

How difficult it will be for those with wealth to join the kingdom of heaven!

After a little pause, he added with increased solemnity:

What does it matter if a man gains the whole world but loses his or her soul?

He didn’t say anything else to him before moving on to another student in the class, but this was enough. That frantic businessman received the information he required, and he believed that God had spoken to him through his devoted class leader. This elderly man who cried and quoted the Bible was a successful class leader.

In one of the older Conferences, there was no man who could lead a group of ladies from among the male members of a rural church. A sister was requested to take over as class leader by the circuit preacher. She hesitated for a moment before agreeing. At the old meeting house amidst the oaks, they regularly convened on Thursdays. Some arrived in their carriages, others on horses, and two or three people who lived nearby arrived on foot. Together, they celebrated and sobbed as they read the Bible, sang, prayed, and each person shared what God was doing for them and in them via the power of the Holy Spirit residing within them. The leader was feminine, soft, and devoid of any trace of masculine; nonetheless, she was fiery, fascinating, bursting with energy, and a lovely singer. The Class flourished, and the aroma of its benevolent effect permeated the area. With the exception of one, all of these pious ladies have ascended into heaven, yet their legacy of holiness and zeal lives on and hangs over the ancient red hills where they lie interred. It is important to think about whether or not women could serve as class leaders for women and achieve the best outcomes.


  • Nathan Zipfel

    Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene Pastor of the New Life Church of the Nazarene in Boswell, PA. Batchelor of Arts Pastoral Leadership, Nazarene Bible College Master of Arts, Ministry, Ohio Christian University Master of Social Work, Indiana Wesleyan University Behavioral Health Therapist, Certified Trauma Professional

By Nathan Zipfel

Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene Pastor of the New Life Church of the Nazarene in Boswell, PA. Batchelor of Arts Pastoral Leadership, Nazarene Bible College Master of Arts, Ministry, Ohio Christian University Master of Social Work, Indiana Wesleyan University Behavioral Health Therapist, Certified Trauma Professional

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