In scripture Christians met in small groups that they may receive guidance and be strengthened in their walk with God. This practice may have been modeled from Jesus’ choosing of twelve (Matt. 4:18-22) whom he taught (Mark 5:1-16) guided (Matt. 10:16-23) sent out (Matt. 10:1-15). There are at least twenty-six references in the New Testament that talk about believers meeting in homes or being part of a household which were generally small groups (Not all are references in Acts: Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Philemon 1:2).
In eighteenth-century England John Wesley divided the societies into small groups he named classes. Each class consisted of twelve members, one of whom was the class leader. Classes met once a week in the neighbourhood where members lived. There they held each other accountable for acting in their daily life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Questions were put by the leader to each member who responded by “giving an account” of his or her discipleship during the past week. The members’ accountability for one another was in no way judgemental; its purpose was to provide a way to watch over each other in love. Class members were mutually accountable as they helped each other keep focus on living out their Christian discipleship.
The purpose of the class is not simply fellowship. The class meeting is to facilitate spiritual growth and as such the most important investment of the class is to focus on the Word. The fellowship and all other activities of the class should be to facilitate and compliment the word towards spiritual growth. The class is not an interest group or a club. Classes should be open to and deliberate in welcoming others to be a part of their meetings [particularly those who are not in a class or in a worshiping community].
Find out more about our Class System by contacting the Church Office at 457-1989 or firstname.lastname@example.org.