Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Preaching is not enough

John Wesley (1703-1791) is rightly known as one of the greatest preachers of the eighteenth century. It is said that “no single figure influenced so many minds, no single voice touched so many hearts. No other man did such a life’s work for England”. [1]

Wesley formed Methodist weekly classes (or small groups) and societies that functioned as a local church. He knew that preaching alone, no matter how powerful, was leaving seed to languish rather than grow in the good soil of mutual support, training, encouragement and discipline. Consequently Wesley left an enduring movement that spread across the world.

“I was more convinced than ever that … preaching like an apostle, without joining together those that are awakened and training them up in the ways of God, is only begetting children for the murderer. How much preaching has there been for these twenty years all over Pembrokeshire! But no regular societies, no discipline, no order or connection; and the consequence is that nine in ten of the once-awakened are now faster asleep than ever.” [2]

The isolated believer is a vulnerable believer. How important it is that we are linked to a body of believers who can support, encourage and help us grow as followers of Christ.

[1] Journal of John Wesley, Introduction
[2] Journal of John Wesley, 25 August, 1763.

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