The Class Meeting can revitalize UM Men

By Steve Nailor

Our denomination and UM Men are struggling to find ways to minister with the next generation of disciples.

In a review of The Class Meeting, a book by Dr. Kevin Watson, Bishop Robert E. Hays Jr. states: “Dr. Watson has managed to reconnect us to a timeless practice that has the potential of ‘revitalizing’ our denomination. With the declining membership and loss of relevancy, we are invited to rediscover what made Methodism and the Wesleyan movement so vibrant for over a century.”

Watson’s compelling case for reinventing the Methodist class meeting recognizes that holy living must be rooted in confession, accountable community, testimony, and discipling others.

Dr. Watson’s emphasis on renewing the Methodist movement takes a simple approach: As we share our own testimonies, we encourage others to become “fishers of men.”

Most of us want to know and be known by others.  We want to hear each other’s stories and tell our own. The principles outlined in The Class Meeting provide us with a fresh way to that.

This is a defining moment, not only for the UMC, but also for each one of us.

The author of 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light.” 

Living in the shadow of Good Friday leaves us in pain, sin, and death. However, we are invited to live in the light of the Resurrection, the greater and final reality. 

Jesus tells us to “follow him” and live as resurrected people. Follow him, and fish in new places, and in new ways.

We are asked:

  • “On which side of the boat are you fishing?”
  • “On which side of the cross are you living your life?”
  • “Are you living your life in the dark space of Good Friday or living your life in amazing light of Resurrection?”

Some key questions for each of us to answer are:

  • How is it with your soul today?
  • How are you following Jesus?
  • How are you fishing in the amazing light of the Resurrection?

When we share the Word, listen to others, and offer personal testimonies, we become men who have our feet firmly planted in the Word. 

Steve Nailor, president

National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men



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