The number of students in a single class was initially set at twelve. Under the previous system of running the Class, this was the maximum number that one leader could effectively manage. He was expected to oversee them in a sub-pastoral capacity throughout the week and catechise each one individually over the condition of his soul at each meeting. This arrangement displays John Wesley’s systematic thinking. Every individual needs to find and fill their place. He desired a disciplined army of believers rather than a horde. His mantra was “all at work, all the time at it.” At the time, Methodism was as organized as a Spartan phalanx. It was rigorous and well-organized. It won battles and kept its victories. The circumstances at the time called for this type of organization. The outcomes supported it. When the militant Methodists came together at this point, New Testament Christianity never had a better day or more influence. This arrangement operated smoothly and without conflict in the densely populated cities of England and the United States. But in other places, it was necessary to make practical adjustments. Due to many factors, including a shortage of qualified leaders, the number of people in a Class was frequently significantly higher. It sometimes happened that Sunday after preaching was the only opportunity that the Church members in the country charges could meet together. Following a brief but heartfelt speech, the benediction was given, the doors were shut, and a number of pious men and women shared what the Lord had done for their souls amid snippets of holy song, tears, cries of joy, and hallelujahs. What recollections surround these revered events! Many a future captain of the Lord’s troops here first drew the sword of the Spirit. On these tides of feeling young converts were washed out to sea, lost their timidity, and rose their glad voices in testimony to the power of Jesus to save from sin. Many a skeptic who had doubted the Class meeting fervor witnessed the light that never faded. Numerous senior saints experienced a new baptism from above and were given a clearer glimpse of the superior splendour. Every member was enthralled by the enormous pulsations of the Church’s heart, which was present. The gospel sermon’s seed is harrowed in and hastened in germination and growth by the class gathering.

Let the convenience of the parties involved and common sense govern the entire situation. The more Class-leaders there are, the better. The work is more effective since it has been divided. The role of a class leader is specifically designed to foster in the leader the highest qualities of Christian character. He is more likely to become a man of prayer, a study of the Bible and human nature, a prepared speaker, and someone who is increasingly aware of the value of souls. There are hundreds of men in the Methodist Church whose lives would be enriched by the fruits of greater usefulness and would blossom into fresh spiritual life if the sacred obligations of the wonderful Class leadership were placed upon them. These men will be asked to take this office and work during the Class Meeting revival, which has already started and won’t stop. Let them not ignore that call because they love the Lord Jesus Christ, his Church, their neighbors, and their own souls more than anything else!

Let the Classes be bigger in cases where it is impossible to get the services of a sufficient number of qualified persons for any reason. Every meeting does not require everyone to speak. In a class meeting service, talented singers and listeners are quite helpful. A sympathetic, devout listener is motivating to all speakers. You might participate as a speaker at one meeting and a listener at another. One leader, who combined good judgment, tact, and vigor in his technique of leading the class meeting, was able to enlighten 100 people.

However, whenever the Church puts her heart into this task, the challenge of finding good Class leaders will vanish. The large armies that recently shook this country were commanded by members of their own ranks. To determine whether a soldier was qualified for command, soldiers had to undergo testing. The benchmark was success. Similarly, the Church. The class leaders are available. Place them to work. Those who fit it will acquire the necessary traits. The pastor may substitute others in their place if any are found guilty on trial. Once you’ve had their attention, our greatest men will crave this vocation, which is not only second to the normal pastorate in terms of opportunities for doing good and cultivating one’s spiritual self, but is also not inimical to the successful pursuit of any respectable secular calling. Let the physician, like another beloved Luke, make his profession doubly sacred by caring for the souls as well as the bodies of his fellow-beings; let the mechanic, whose genius rears the noble edifices that adorn our cities; let the farmer be also a laborer in the Class-meeting; let the lawyer and jurist bring his trained and sharpened intellect into the service of God and man in the Class-meeting; For this favored work, the Head of the Church calls for its finest people. No one should object.

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

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