From a Seedbed Publishing Press Release (May 28, 2013):
In Class Meeting, Kevin Watson pulls a play from the playbook of John Wesley and brings it to life for today’s Church. Watson said, “Because most small groups are built around curricular study resources, people rarely get down to the real substance of what small groups are all about: transformation, or becoming like Christ." He added, “Most Christian know much more than they are practicing or applying to their lives. Class meetings were essential for the first Methodists, and they are essential today, because they helped people grow in faith in Christ and learn how to follow Jesus with their lives.”
The book turns decisively to a time tested and proven method presenting a new solution. Watson draws on his extensive research into the strategy John Wesley called, “the class meeting.” Though the early Methodists were a “people of one book,” they utilized the small group structure not to study the bible but rather to lovingly engage one another in conversations about their souls. They developed a language and vocabulary to talk at deep levels about what the Holy Spirit was doing in their lives.
The book unfolds a vision and a practical strategy for developing small groups that are all at once much simpler than the typical group, yet more productive and with greater spiritual depth. Watson has structured the book into an eight-week study resource designed for a small group to work through together. Along the way he progressively equips them with a shared language to talk about the work of the Holy Spirit in the inner person and a structure for holding these kinds of meetings. After eight weeks, the book is laid aside and the class meeting is born.
Seedbed’s director of publishing, Andrew Miller said, “Many authors have attempted to translate John Wesley’s class meeting structure into a workable modern format but they have fallen flat. Kevin has this ability to capture the classical nature of the idea and pour it into a new wineskin for today’s church,” adding, “What excites Seedbed even more about the book is Kevin’s bigger goal to see this take root in the church again.”
Kevin M. Watson is Assistant Professor of Historical Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Seattle Pacific University. He is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church. He has written for academic and more popular audiences on Wesleyan discipleship.
The book is scheduled to release in the fall of 2013. Watch for updates on seedbed.com.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013