In one stark entry in Wesley’s journal, he commented on a time when he failed to establish societies and classes in a region where he had preached. He returned twenty years after a great revival in a region called Pembrokeshire and was grieved to see that no evidence of their evangelistic success remained. He concluded:
“I was more convinced than ever that the 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 those once awakened are now faster asleep than ever.”
Here’s another one on Christian community:
Christianity is essentially a social religion and to turn it into a solitary religion is indeed to destroy it.
I’m thinking that somewhere in the life of John Wesley, I’d find some clues about what’s next. Now, can anyone — especially my Methodist friends — recommend a great biography of John Wesley?