Covenant Discipleship Group Beginning at PUMC

The purpose of this memo is to advise those who are interested of the formation of a Covenant Discipleship Group at Peterborough UMC. When John Wesley founded the Methodist movement he did not intend to create a new Protestant denomination, he simply wanted to improve the Church of England in a more member centered way. Methodism evolved by John Wesley’s own account in his Ecclesiastical History (published in 1781) over three stages through a period years first at Oxford in 1720s, second in Georgia 1736, and lastly in London thru 1739.

I bring this up to highlight one of the most important aspects of John Wesley’s movement that of the class meeting, i.e., the weekly meeting of individuals who were committed to improving their relationship with God through the help and support of like minded Christians.

As an outgrowth of our recent Wesley Devotional study group meetings, it became apparent to me that my devotional life was in need of first aid. In a manner that I could not fix by myself and it led me to understand the need to form what we United Methodist term a Covenant Discipleship Group. I would like us to start such a group within our church family.

A Covenant Discipleship group is composed of 5 to 7 persons who meet together for one hour each week to hold one another mutually accountable for their discipleship. Groups tend to form based on the day and time people are available for a weekly meeting.
The purpose of the weekly meeting is mutual accountability and support for discipleship. The group is guided by a covenant they write, shaped by the General Rule of Discipleship:
To witness to Jesus Christ in the world and to follow his teachings through acts of compassion, justice, worship and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The covenant serves as the agenda for the weekly meeting. It keeps the focus of conversation on discipleship; what each member of the group has done, or not done, during the past week to follow the teachings of Jesus in their daily lives.
A more detailed handout explaining the covenant discipleship group concept and aspirations is available for your review on the table just outside the sanctuary door. I also have several books on the subject which will help guide us in setting-up the group.

I have a signup sheet prepared for all those who might be interested in the fellowship hall on the table next to the Sanctuary entrance. Please provide your name, contact information, and meeting preference times. I will be in contact with you.

If you have questions don’t hesitate to ask.
Jim Poplin

Covenant Discipleship Groups: An Introduction
Writing a Covenant (PDF)