During the Great Awakening of the 18th century, John Wesley famously quipped that justifying grace is only the door to salvation, while sanctification the house (“The Principles of a Methodist Further Explained”). The key to the spiritual revival in England and America was the organization of Christians into various small groups, then called select societies, class meetings, and bands. The purpose of each was to pursue holiness together. These structures allowed for mutual accountability, where spiritual friends were confessing sin without fear of condemnation. They regularly asked these questions of one another:
5 Questions to Ask During a Band Meeting
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?
By ordering people according to gender and marital status, Christians received an encouraging micro-community that catalyzed their spiritual growth and realigned the spiritual trajectory of entire nations.
Explore more seeds: Watch Kevin Watson’s Seven Minute Seminary video, “Keys to a Better Small Group Meeting“; Get Kevin’s book, The Class Meeting: Reclaiming a Forgotten (And Essential) Small Group Experience from our store; watch Ryan Danker’s Seven Minute Video, “The Genius of Wesleyan Small Groups“; read a piece by Matt Lipan on how their church is modeling small groups in suburban Indianapolis; in this article Eric George explains that sometimes personal stories are more important than Bible studies.