A few years after entering into what I know to be a “practical, insightful, Scriptural, and Holy Spirit filled” seminary (and yes, there are others that are and some that are not), my mentor and dear brother, Pastor Kerry Willis, gave me a set of The Wesley Library as he had an entire second set. For about a year it sat dormant in my home office; that is, until I needed it for a few classes I was registered in. It was then that I found what a treasury it is — all built strongly on God’s Word and His heart. A few years later, in 2006, I completed my final elective, “John Wesley: The Man and the Movement.” I was elated to find that the movement, while often “credited” to Wesley — was no doubt a movement of the Holy Spirit’s work. Wesley himself would have been the first to admit that, which in my book, gives him much credibility. Always watch those who attach “their name” to ministry and who propogate “their name” all over the place. Much of the time, it becomes what I addressed in an earlier blog: “The Gospel according to _____.”
I especially like the attention Wesley and others, even many in our modern times, give to living out a faith in community. That was a keynote principle for John and Charles. To them, and to the movement that went before them and followed after they were gone, community of the believers was essential and necessary. There was “no room or attention given to living in isolation and propogating an individualistic life” (as Wesley recorded in his Journal). In fact, the Wesley brothers were early pioneers for the “club” or “society” that met for devotion, discussion, study, prayer, and communion. It strengthened them spiritually and it was a witness to multitudes. It didn’t center around a potluck, or a meal, or an entertaining event — it was spiritual food for the soul.
Today, we would refer to that smaller gathering as a “cell” or a “group.” The language has changed, but the concept has remained the same. Of course, the original idea goes back further than Wesley, further than Luther, to Jesus and His disciples. He and the twelve had a personal, intimate, relational connection. Not just to God, but to each other. They were together — they were doing life together.
Today, in 2011, we need to be sharing life together in community, in togetherness. In the words of Francis Chan, “isolation has no place in Christianity or His Church.” Even in writing this blog, I am reminded that a lot of internet, blog posting, facebook updating is isolationalism. Is it a tool? Yes. It it an easy out? Yes. So I eagerly look forward to this Friday night and time spent with Christian brothers and sisters “doing life together.”
May we bless God by loving Him, loving each other, and getting involved in each other’s lives! I believe that lifts up His Name in mighty ways!