Small Group Ministry Through the Eyes of John Wesley as a Disciplining and Membership Retention Model for the SDA Church
Membership retention is obviously one of the greatest challenges for ministers of the gospel. There seems to be an exponential membership loss across denominations in Christendom for the past few decades. This status quo finds—to a great extent—its roots in the methods employed to nurture a church. It is in this perspective that John Wesley’s method of creating small, interactive groups in order to retain converts is evoked. This study employs a quasi-historical approach to appraise the small group ministry method revolutionized by J. Wesley—for he was not the instigator of it. Upon analysis of the Wesleyan small group ministry approach, it is established that this method provides the present church with a model that is closer to the ideal pattern of the early Christian church in its various aspects. It follows that the ministry of the Methodist movement could serve as a model for the ministry of the church today. This study therefore concludes that J. Wesley’s method of small group ministry—despite its limitations –is an invaluable approach that should be adopted or reinforced by the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a model for discipling and retaining members.
Key Words: John Wesley, small group ministry, discipling, membership retention, Church, Methodist movement