C. The Five Stages of Spiritual Maturity:
( Wesley=s equipping track raised people up as spiritual leaders and helped them find their ministry. Within the select society, they took responsibility for others as class leaders and band leaders, but there is little said about a parental sort of responsibility for others.
; If leaders are raised up to become spiritual parents, there will be multiplying growth as generations of families form new families.
The Wesleyan discipleship system was always more focused on holiness than evangelism; while field preaching drew large crowds, Wesley=s Societies statistically Aconstituted only a fraction of one percent of the populace@ in any given year. The crowds did not enter the societies; they are not an example of rapid evangelistic church growth similar to the church of Acts or modern cell churches. The Methodist society made disciples; individual Methodists, however, did not make disciples who make disciples who make disciples. Leaders were raised to a level of servant maturity but not to the point where they would become spiritual parents of multiple generations of disciples as commanded in 2 Timothy 2:2.
Conclusion: Early Methodism is Acellish@
but not a cell church. It is the basic original pattern, however, both for cell
churches that rapidly grow by multiplying generations and for traditional Acome structure@
churches that bring people into faith through worship and mature them in small
groups. It=s not a
cell church unless those mature disciples go back out into the world to make
disciples and personally fulfill the Great Commission; acts of mercy are
David Lowes Watson, The Early Methodist Class Meeting (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 1992), 131. Wesley=s pattern by itself will not reverse the current membership decline.
NOTE (my response)
The quote is from Major League Disciple Making: An Overview of the Best Research on the Cell Church, an online course developed for the Institute for Discipleship at www.BeADisciple.com in 2009. Course materials, including these lectures, can be downloaded here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/IFD_MLD_Class_Links.html
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