The number of Methodist pastors in the US is somewhere around 30,000. Classleaders should be at least as many. Consider it! thirty thousand individuals working in an environment that is most conducive to their own spiritual growth. Thirty thousand soldiers are undergoing the best possible training. 30,000 men have made a special commitment to cultivating their own religious lives as well as studying and supporting the religious lives of others. What could such a group of guys not accomplish with God? Who wouldn’t want to see the clay when all of these nice Class Leaders are working hard? Who would be willing to give up the dream of such an accomplishment? Where is the Methodist layman who wouldn’t consider it an honor and a blessing to be one of these 30,000?
Thirty thousand individuals studying spiritual phenomena, as shown in the growth of their classes’ religious lives, would be just another group of men in school learning the knowledge that would make them wise to win souls. There is a chance for observation in the class meeting that is not offered elsewhere. The class leader can compare the same individual’s mental states as they proceed through religious life. The class meeting is distinct from the love feast, prayer gathering, and even theology study in this regard. The class leader who has a genuine love for his students and a strong feeling of responsibility for their well-being gains understanding of how the human heart functions in the midst of real conflicts and ever-changing circumstances in life, which is something that cannot be learned from books. Many Class leaders have entered the ministry with training they could not have acquired any other way for dealing with the practical concerns of pastoral service. John B. McFerrin, who was appointed class leader at the tender age of 16, threw himself into the task with the youthful zeal and natural energy that characterized him. Early experience
Thus, he lived a happy life for the rest of it. It gave his thinking a pragmatic bias while addressing religious issues. His theology of the concrete order was made possible. It helped him hone the readiness and tact with which he has distinguished himself while interacting with guys. He became accustomed to carrying big burdens and duties early on in his long career. He was able to preach with a directness and spirituality that reflected the tone of the class meeting service as a whole as a result. He is also one of numerous preachers whose best theological research and pre-preaching instruction were discovered in the Class-meeting as it was fifty years ago. The Class Meeting gave the preachers of the previous generation a spiritual boost. In addition to their own experiences, they gained spiritual knowledge there. Occasionally, revelations were given to them in class meetings that altered the course of their entire afterlives. Early in his ministry, Rev. George W. Nolley of the Virginia Conference heard a woman’s testimony at a class meeting that changed and elevated his perspective on the Christian life. He has kept these perspectives to this day, which grew with his spiritual development and became stronger with his spiritual fortitude. Bishop Morris of the Methodist Episcopal Church and Bishop Marvin of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South owed a great deal of their conversion to Christ and initiation into the Church, as well as the influence that made their ministry so fruitful and beneficial to the world, to the Class meeting.
The pastors’ strongest source of spiritual support would be the 30.000 Class leaders. They tend to have the fairest, most objective minds in all temporal talks and policies in the quarterly meetings and other official bodies because of how obviously religious their office is. Because of how closely their work resembles that of pastors, they are able to easily understand their thoughts and plans, turning into their trusted advisors and friendly coworkers.
The exact assistance required in the spiritual leadership of a spiritual Church would be provided by 30,000 Class-leaders. The spiritual oversight of a spiritual Church is an important phrase to remember. It makes reference to the fundamental tenet of class meetings.
A class of people who, in the change of pastors, necessitated by our wise and apostolic itinerant system, are exposed to the seductions of proselyters and the danger that threatens the sheep in the absence of the shepherd, would have 32,000 Class Leaders hold steadfastly to their Church-allegiance and religious duties. Methodism gains the advantages of both a permanent spiritual leadership and a mobile ministry through the Class-meeting. These two efficiency-enhancing factors were created in tandem according to God’s providential plan. Don’t allow our ignorance and foolishness tear apart what he has so powerfully united and blessed.
A location where simple men of God may serve the Church without giving up their temporal obligations and without any specific training other than a saving faith, sound common sense, and a zeal in accordance with knowledge would be provided through the 30,000 Class Meetings. The Church cannot afford to forfeit the assistance these guys could provide. Is she prepared to bury all of this skill after wrapping it up in a napkin? No, not until she is prepared to suffocate her spiritual life and prepare for her own burial as a dead Church!
The Christian ministry would be recruited from among the 30.000 class leaders. Nothing could be more designed to show a man’s potential for pastoral ministry to the Church than class leadership. The class meeting would serve as a prophets’ school more than ever. The exact type of preachers required for the times—men with great spirituality, men whose love for souls is a burning passion, men whose knowledge of heavenly things is experimental, persons with practical insight and combative energy—would enter the ministerial ranks from the Class-Leadership.
Thirty thousand class leaders, such as those we will find if we look for them in prayer, would stop the current trend toward formality and worldliness, rekindle the spirit of the Holy Ghost in tens of thousands of cold hearts, and once more confront a brazen and defiant infidelity with a Christianity aware of God’s presence and armed with His power.