I have been inspired by Kevin Watson’s series of posts about the Methodist Class Meeting. It was part of what made the Methodist movement powerful. I have hoped to use the following series of posts as a guide for leading class meetings when I am the lead pastor at a church one day.
- The Methodist Class Meeting for the 21st Century
- The Methodist Class Meeting for the 21st Century: The Foundation
- The Methodist Class Meeting for the 21st Century: Why Classes?
- The Methodist Class Meeting for the 21st Century: Who Is This For?
- Top Ten Ways to Guarantee that Your Class Meeting will Fail
- Is the Class Meeting Judgmental and Exclusive?
Then I thought, what about now? I am leading Resurrection Online and hoping to create opportunities for people to worship, grow, give and serve. Isn’t this one of the powerful ways that the Methodist movement grew in faith and size? Would a class meeting work online? What are your thoughts, feelings or opinions about this possibility
7 replies on “Class Meetings at Resurrection Online”
I think online class meetings would definitely work! I’ve been toying around with trying to do something, but I’m glad to help out with your project. Count me in!
If people can get college (or even high school) degrees with classes online, why not with online church too? As long as it has some sort of chat function, or some sort of email/blog comment type of way for people to interact, I think it could be a great learning and community building function.
I say “amen” to Andrea. This could be very possible. One time I had a hour long dialog with someone on a local Kansas City news blog. It was a complete blast.
Due to work schedule issues, I was online for the 5 pm yesterday. I had a thought. Is there a Twitter feed set up for the church services? I was thinking it would be fun to read people’s Tweets in reaction to the church service and the sermon.
I would say… Sorta. I am not yet convinced that non-incarnational “Accountability” would be as effective at behavior change (Which was the implicit purpose of the class meeting), as physical sharing would be. I think the technological filter provides a means for us to keep people at a “Safe Distance” and the implicit peer pressure that serves as the chief motivating force for change (Both in Wesley’s model and in groups such as AA etc), just isn’t as potent.
As a didactically learning tool the Internet is quite powerful, also as a social organizing and movement tool, What I ‘m not sure about is its ability to engage the kind of gut level raw down and dirty and in your face challenging experience that was a weekly occurrence for the early Methodists. I guess what I am asking is, does it take as much to confess to one another online as it does in person… I think not thus the disconnect. The power of the Class was the power of personal confession. It would absolutely be necessary to require that people be known to one another personally (I.E. not hiding behind screen names), for this to work at all.
Having said that, the presence of ANY accountability oriented experience would be much better than what the typical Christian currently engages in, which is none whatsoever. So i say go for it, but it remains to be seen if it can spark the same kind of continent wide revival as did JW’s organizing innovation.
Chuck – Thank you for your response. I, also, am not sure how effective it may be. Thanks for the encouragement.
Also, a clarification, I believe the focus of the class meeting was around the question – How is it with your soul? It was the band group that focused on personal confession.
Nope, the Class meeting was focused on Accountability – It was the entry point for the movement. And every meeting required the following questions to be answered (Among others)
1. What known sins have you committed since our last meeting?
2. What temptations have you met with?
3. How were you delivered?
4. What have you thought, said, or done, of which you doubt whether it be sin or not?
5. Have you nothing you desire to keep secret?
The band meeting was focused on the “Intentions of the heart” It would have been the place to ask the “How is it” Question. Wesley saw personal confession as the entry point into the movement, not something for “More Mature” believers as we tend to see it. It was, I think, this reversal that was so revolutionary.
Ok I stand corrected, did some reading and you are right…. hmm I’ve had that wrong for a long time.