A Great New Book to Grow in Faith: The Band Meeting


Holiness is an attribute of God. It is not something we human beings have on our own, but something that must be imparted to us from God. Nevertheless, Christians have long believed that there are practices by which we open ourselves to the gift of holiness.

When Wesley said that there is no holiness but social holiness, what he meant was that we need other people to help us become open to God’s sanctifying grace that makes us holy. We can’t do this all on our own. Thus we see the development of class and band meetings in early Methodism.


Kevin Watson has an excellent book on the class meeting. I highly recommend it. You can find it here in print and here as an e-book. Now Kevin and my colleague Scott Kisker have written a new book on the band meeting, available here in print and here as an e-book. What is a band meeting? It is a group of men or women who come together to confess their sins to each other and hold one another accountable in repentance. Class meetings were mandatory for the early Methodists, though band meetings were not. Rather, they were for those who wanted to go deeper in their quest for holiness. This is a very good book, and I recommend it for your personal reading or, even better, as a small group study in a church.


7 thoughts on “A Great New Book to Grow in Faith: The Band Meeting

  1. The Methodist Church was founded on the Quadrilateral. Not only scripture, but tradition (which once was very progressive) experience and reason are the four pillars. Our more conservative sisters and brothers, from what I hear, lean solely upon scripture.
    God gave us brains, thus we must, also, use reason. We must use experience, and those of us who have LBGTQI family members and friends, know that most are fine people, born as they are (reason), and that they love God and their neighbors. (experience)
    I am not “ignoring” scripture, but we, also, must know that there are many interpretations of scripture, plus the fact that what was believed 2000+ years ago, is not longer valid today. For example, seizures caused by “demons.” Pork and shellfish consumption a “sin.” I could go on but you do get the idea.

      • In a way it does, David, since i am in my 80s, I remember a much more progressive Methodist Church, prior to the merger with the EUB, and after that capitulating to the churches in other nations who are new to the Bible and take it literally, without interpretation.
        I love diversity, in life, religion and politics, everyone should be included. However, I had hoped that when we merged with the EUB, which is more conservative and included other nations, that they would become more progressive, rather than Methodism becoming more conservative. Most Mainline Churches are becoming more progressive, with the exception of the Southern Baptist Church, and we are becoming more and more conservative.
        Since the topic is regarding edifying books, have you read any of the works of a retired Episcopal Bishop with the name of John Shelby Spong? I have read five of his many books, the last of which is “Biblical Literalism.” His first book, which freed me from thinking of myself as a “heathen,” was “Why Christianity Must Change or Die.” That book, to me a retired RN, and to my husband a retired electrical engineer/contract manager and UMC cleric, is a definite “Must Read.” If you have not read anything written by Dr. Spong, you can find any of his books in a library or book store. His first book as well as some of his older books are now in paper back. Some of the others are “Jesus for the Non-Religious,” “Liberating the Gospels,” and “Sins of Scripture.”
        Dr. Spong can be accessed via the Internet.

  2. Carla, I have read Spong, but I have not found his arguments to be convincing or helpful for the church. I’m sorry, but I think we have a vast difference of opinion on this writer.

    • Indeed there is a vast difference in our opinions. This, also, may be due to the fact that I am a progressive, and you are a conservative.
      My husband and I attend a very progressive UCC Church and the members and attendees attended a six week series, on Dr. Spong’s book, “Why Christianity Must Change or Die.” The series was lead by my husband, a retired electrical engineer and UMC cleric, and they absolutely loved it. Dr. Song’s books have been discussed at a men’s group, that my husband attended, and now, due to the frailty of the former leader of this group, my husband leads. That group, too, agreed with Dr. Spong. The group has a mix of several religions, American Baptist, former UMC members who now are members of the UCC, several Jewish gentlemen, an agnostic, Roman Catholic, and some UMC members.
      I did read, with interest, that the annual conference that was not having an issue to finding young people to enter the ministry, was in the Pacific North West, a very progressive area. This would indicate that younger people are not going to have their friends and perhaps family members, who are LBGTQ+. face the discrimination that they face in the more conservative conferences.
      So, yes, we shall have to agree to disagree regarding Dr. Spong and his progressive, and to my husband and me, uplifting, compelling messages. The UMC and other churches have changed over the years, and the more conservative churches should consider doing so again.
      Blessings to you and yours,

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