If small groups are the essential component to effective discipleship, why do most teens involved in small groups stay the same? Why isn’t the latest celebri-pastor study sparking a nationwide revival from the thousands of sales of this revolutionary curriculum (by the way, can we stop using “revolutionary” for non-revolutionary things)?
For a while I thought that the whole small group thing was a recent development that might not last. Then I took church history. Turns out that the methodist revival was really a revival of small groups called class meetings. What happened in those small groups is EXACTLY what we hope (but often fail) to accomplish in our small group ministries at our church.
The problem is, how do you take something that rocked the face off the 1700s and translate it into the new millennium? That is the puzzle I have been twisting around in my mind for the past ten years or so since I learned of this small group revival that Wesley led. A new book (releasing on November 15th) tackles that precise problems and is what I believe to be the answer to the current small group dilemma.
The book is Class Meetings by Kevin Watson, and I got an opportunity to interview him about what Wesley did, how we translate it to today, and the promise it holds specifically for youth ministry. That video is below, and Kevin points out that a huge problem is the church’s addiction to curriculum. In the interview he explains that his book, and the class meeting in general, should be seen as the “nicotine patch” for curriculum addiction. Enjoy!
If you want to check the book out, you can buy it directly from seedbed in print and digital forms or just grab the ebook on Amazon.
Jeremy Steele has been working in youth ministry for the past seventeen years and now serves as the Next Generation Minister at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, AL. He writes for United Methodist Reporter, AL.com, RETHINK Church and various publications and organizations. You can find a link to all the places he contributes on his website at JeremyWords.com.
Follow him on twitter: twitter.com/unpretending