Preaching & Worship Resources
Meeting Our Needs
Rev. Michelle Morris, Ph.D.
Companion Sermon Series for The Class Meeting: Reclaiming a Forgotten (and Essential) Small Group Experience by Kevin M. Watson
As Kevin Watson remarks in The Class Meeting: Reclaiming a Forgotten (and Essential) Small Group Experience, he has little difficulty convincing people that the class meeting could revitalize Methodism today (113), yet nonetheless Methodism has not exploded with these groups. Watson supposes that some of the trouble may be knowing where and how to start. His book gives a good overall plan for how to implement groups. He invites people to use the book as a way to wean away from content driven small groups to progress to class meetings, in which people gather and share how God is active (or inactive) in their lives.
One suggestion he makes in the book is for pastors to preach “a sermon series on the key theological emphases of the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition, with particular focus on the ‘method’ of small groups that focused on growing in faith and were essential to bringing this message to life” (81). With such a series, a pastor can make a broad appeal to her church so that she has greater understanding and buy-in as she develops these class meetings in her context.
This companion to the book will outline two possibilities for preaching such a series. The first sermon series, “Home Improvement,” will focus on a Wesleyan understanding of grace, and will then propose class meetings as a means for growing in grace. This series will use our recent obsession with home improvement and building shows as an approachable means of understanding this process, building on the Wesleyan concept of grace as a house. The second series, entitled “Mission Critical,” will focus on the realities of the 21st century church, and integrate a case for recovery of the class meeting within that series.
As a pastor, you are the resident exegete. Not only do you exegete the biblical text in light of your context, you exegete your context. You must read your people and their needs to see what message comes to light for them. You have an interest in reviving passion for our faith in your context, and you think class meetings may be one of the keys to such a revival. You should also have a sense, then, of which of these sermon series would best serve your people.
In each case, you will find notes on the suggested biblical passage, a purpose for each sermon, and a general outline of potential sermon points. There may also be suggested resources or stories for your use. It is my hope that this will serve as a frame for inspiration through which the Holy Spirit might work for you and your people.
It will help us all to remember the distinction between curriculum based classes (like Sunday school classes) which are information driven, and class meetings which are transformation driven. The purpose of exploring and encouraging class meetings “is to introduce you to a practice that has the potential to strengthen your life in Christ, help you be delivered from temptation, and help those who are seeking Jesus to find new life in him” (Watson 130). I have yet to meet a congregation that could not be enlivened by such meetings.
May these suggested sermon series serve you well, or inspire you to create your own, that we might all grow in grace and Spirit, knowing Christ at a deeper and more life-giving level.
Rev. Dr. Michelle J. Morris
Meeting Our Needs
Sermon Series #1:
Home Improvement: Renovated by Grace
Home Improvement: Curb Appeal (First Sermon on Prevenient and Convicting Grace)
Home Improvement: The Red Front Door (Second Sermon on Justifying Grace)
Home Improvement: Interior Design (Third Sermon on Sanctifying Grace)
Home Improvement: Never Stop Improving (Fourth Sermon on Class Meetings as a Place to Grow in Grace)
Sermon Series #2:
Mission Critical: Vital Faith, Living Christ
Mission Critical: God Brings the Fire, We Forgot the Fuel (First Sermon on the Form of Religion Without the Power)
Mission Critical: (Re)Entry Point (Second Sermon on Why Worship is not the Entry Point for New Christians Anymore)
Mission Critical: Escaping Escapism (Third Sermon on Why our Faith Should be Integrated into our Everyday Life)
Mission Critical: An Encyclopedia Britannica Church in a Google World (Fourth Sermon on Why to Move Away from Content Groups to Transformational Groups)
Mission Critical: Watching Over One Another in Love (Fifth Sermon on the Value of Class Meetings/Transformational Groups)
Rituals & Dedications for Covenant Discipleship
Accountable Discipleship companion resources curated by: