John Wesley’s Small Group Rules

Christian support groups are not a new idea! I learned that when I first discovered John Wesley’s “Rules for Small Groups” written in 1816. This is an outline of “the Method” from which the name “Methodist” was derived.  It resulted in one of the greatest revivals the world has ever known. What if following these became a common practice in the Church today?

Believers gathered together in small groups, sharing honestly, becoming accountable to one another, asking probing questions, praying for one another with a deep knowledge of their mutual needs and struggles.  Any believer can benefit from this type of gathering.  It can be a tremendously healing and encouraging experience for those in recovery. So, what did they do? In the early days of the Methodist Church, members were expected to agree to six common disciplines or “Rules” found in The Works of John Wesley (1816):

  1. To meet once a week, at least.
  2. To come together at the hour appointed, without some extraordinary reason.
  3. To begin (those of us who are present) exactly at the hour, with singing or prayer.
  4. To speak each of us in order, freely and plainly, the true state of our souls, with the faults we have committed in thought or deed and the temptations we have felt since our last meeting.
  5. To end every meeting with prayer suited to the state of each person.
  6. To desire some person among us to speak his own state first, and then to ask the rest, in order, as many and as searching questions as may be, concerning their state, sins, and temptations.

To learn more about modern support groups and how they can help Christians who struggle with issues in their lives, see The Importance of Support Groups.

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