John Wesley’s Rules for Preachers

Today’s guest post comes to us from Nathan Finn for

wesley4John Wesley (1703-1791) was one of the key leaders of the Evangelical Awakening in Britain during the mid-eighteenth century. Circumstances drove Wesley to adopt itinerant evangelistic preaching, an idea he picked up from his friend and former student George Whitefield. Once Wesley embraced itinerancy, he extended his movement’s influence by appointing other itinerant preachers to serve various “circuits” (regional networks) of “classes” (small groups). Wesley hoped this strategy would bring evangelical renewal to the Church of England. It did bring some renewal, but the greater fruit was the Methodist denominations that were birthed in both North America (1784) and Britain (1795).

Wesley laid out twelve rules for preachers who wished to serve as Methodist itinerants. While some of the rules themselves are not strictly applicable to a settled, non-Methodist ministry, there is still much wisdom to be gleaned from the principles Wesley articulated.

1. Be diligent. Never be unemployed. Never be triflingly employed. Never while away time, nor spend more time at any place than is strictly necessary.
2. Be serious. Let your motto be, ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ Avoid all lightness, jesting, and foolish talking.
3. Converse sparingly and cautiously with women, particularly with young women.
4. Take no step towards marriage without solemn prayer to God and consulting with your brethren.

Click here to read the entire article and the remaining eight principles.

Your partner in ministry,


Church Growth PrinciplesP.S. –  Though John Wesley lived more than 300 years ago, when we look closer at Wesley’s story, it’s clear how similar his situation was to ours – and how applicable his leadership principles are to ministry TODAY.

In his day, there was also a great anti-Christian movement.

There was a great need for renewal and revival.

There was a need for structure and organization in order for the gospel to be shared.

Wesley knew the difficulty of ministry – but also what we would need to do to turn things around in this difficult climate we face as church leaders.

Dr. Bob Whitesel, a church growth expert and John Wesley scholar,will engage you with colorful narratives of his travels across England studying original Wesley writings in the actual locations where Wesley wrote them! Plus, hear about growing churches today that have recaptured Wesley’s biblical principles and are growing exponentially.

Click here to join Dr. Bob Whitesel on an inspiring exploration of the life and leadership lessons on John Wesley that you can apply to unleash your own church! (only $49!)

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

Nelson SearcyChurch Growth, Ministry