It started with us, kind of, but it was such a good system.
You meet a person, at work, school. wherever and you invite them into your home to pray, to study, to commune with Jesus where two or more are gathered.

Once or so your pastor joins you.

Soon you invite them to church.

Now this is not a saved person but one who is being brought to Christ to be baptized and brought into the vineyard.

Why did we stop?
It grows churches.  It grows the AMEC.

Why stop?

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Well RevZ62.
In order to do what you suggest we would have to invite people into our homes. Many are so busy with their everyday lives they don't have time for company. The house must be cleaned, the kids should behave respectfully while the company is there but many of us have not raised our children so that's out the window. More than anything else we have to know something about God and God's word in order to invite people in for a discussion. Well, in many cases that can be a problem.
We live in such challenging times with so many responsibilities it is so much easier for us to drop by the church and have the preacher and choir entertain us. We can put our problems aside for a moment and feel good too.

But what you are speaking of requires work, dedication, wisdom, commitment and intentionality on our parts. These encounters could result in us having to deal with the highs and lows of others. This could be a wonderfully joyous experience but this would cause us to have to open up and reveal pieces of ourselves and this can make us vulnerable.
People are afraid of vulnerability.
An insightful and charming response.

Yes you are right, especially your last paragraph. I had not actually thought of those things. But that is why we share with others, Two heads are often better.

One thing I have issue with is the biblical knowledge point. It is not needed. We first need to witness, tell our story about how God has been good to us, To stress letting go and letting God. We all have a story to tell as we travel on our Damascus roads.

It would take someone such as you to design a simple Class program that accounts for the points you made to make it effective, do not forget, God wants the willing. If people are willing God will do the rest I seriously believe that.

When I came off the 'streets' and got into ministry I found myself in charge of training others in Methodism. I am good and reading and transmitting to others that information.
I am a reserved and didactic person, and we had some holy roller sessions. I did not do it God did, the Spirit moved among us and sessions never ended on time.

I truly believe that if you will, God can. What say you?
Well, I've been a Methodist for some years and I've had a good class leader or two in my day. I've been a class leader and even the class leader for the class leaders (President of the Class Leaders council). Our council often had gatherings with their classes in their homes, restaurants, parks, bowling allies, etc. We were not responsible for dues and other fees as many class leader programs are. It was a support fellowship in which members shared their concerns with and for each other. I've even taught the concept in another denomination calling it small group ministry. I am gifted thank God with the ability to make the word of God relevant to people. My friends say I make it come alive. When done right the system is a journey in love as the leader and members walk together with God growing in their relationship.

I’m sad to say there is also another concern with the system. Some pastors can be fearful of it especially if the class leader is also clergy. They often fear that preacher may be starting a church right under their noses and will steal the members.
Classes as I understand it are the outreach ministry of the church to find the unchurched, the apostate and the unbeliever not to serve the purpose of prayer meetings and bible study among members but to gain membership.
Any AME pastor who thinks it is "his" church is far off the mark. Not that saying it changes anything.
We knelt at the altar and promised to be itinerants and your church is where the Bishop places you.

The question is can we grow our churches, bring souls to Christ and build up the body of Christ.
classes or small group ministry the name is not relevant. Romans 12:2 ye not conformed... seems to be the message for those small minded pastors you have dealt with.
Money, my church. and so on ..... it appears they have lost their way.

If you did build a church, good it gets you out of their pulpit and the church grows.

Be Blessed.
I come to tell the story
Last sat,april 24,2010 the state of Ala. went out and witness in the storm. The rain came and the wind were so high the lighting was flashing also tornadoes was all around, but we did what God ask us to do. In order to make full proof of the church we must go out and get the lost.
To many times we are sitting in the box not want to go out side but even jack like to poke his head out every once and a while, so as pastor,class leader, preacher and even the children have a story to tell some one about the love of Jesus. I have been a AME all my life and love it but now is the time for all of us to get up and go to work for JESUS
Rev. Kelley:

I am so glad to read this testimony. We often ridicule others (in particular the Jehovah Witness) who evangelize for Christ without end. We need to be more diligent in our personal witness. May God continue to richly bless you and keep you in His perfect will.
I think the class leaders systems is a fine minsiterial tool that we have allowed to get away from us. Many of the non-denomiational churches have revamped it. Gave it a new name such as covenant group, prayer cell, or a similar title. Now these churches are growing by leaps and bounds,and sadly some of our smaller churches are barely keeping their doors opened. I think that African Methodism needs to revisit our past and go back to the basics. I think the challenge is that we have lost our personal witness. If you read the autobiography of Bishop Richard Allen and the biorgraphy of Jarena Lee, they both had a strong personal witness that persuaded people to get converted and connect with our churches. These persons had an intimate relationship with God that was undeniable and unquestionable. How many of us today encourage people to have an intimitate relationship with God, or demonstrate to others that God is real and that He still speaks to the hearts and minds of His people, outside the context of the preached and taught word. That is what the class meeting system was all about. It was a place where we could work out our own soul salvation. As A.M.E.s we have to serve the present age. I think we need evolve our class meeting system and make it more relevant for today. I had served a church where we had a thriving class meeting system. To that end, some people may have scruples about iniviting people to their homes. I this is the case, I recommend that the pastor/teacher should encourage the classes to meet at the church as an alternative. The benefit is that this keeps the doors of the church opened and people might feel more comfortable in the setting. However, the non-denominational churches are having there class meetings in people's home and it appears to be working for them. We as A.M.E.s need to stop making excuses and get about ministry. When I read how Bishop Richard Allen walked until he had blisteres on his feet, just to preach the gospel, it showed me that his relationship with God was real, and that realness he translated to a powerful witness for God.


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