Wesley enlisted helpers for the Methodist movement. These were lay preachers who helped the movement grow. Here are his “Rules of an Assistant” that were to be followed by these lay preachers. What would happen if Christian leaders followed these rules today?
- Be diligent, never be unemployed a moment, never be triflingly employed, never while away time, spend no more time at any place than is strictly necessary.
- Be serious. Let your motto be, ‘Holiness unto the Lord.’ Avoid all lightness as you would hell-fire, and laughing as you would cursing and swearing.
- Touch no woman. Be as loving as you will, but hold your hands off ‘em. Custom is nothing to us.
- Believe evil of no one. If you see it done, well, else take heed how you credit it. Put the best construction on everything. You know the judge is always sup¬posed to be on the prisoner’s side.
- Speak evil of no one, else your word especially would eat as doth a canker. Keep your thoughts within your own breast till you come to the person concerned.
- Tell everyone what you think wrong in him, and that plainly, and as soon as may be, else it will fester in your own heart. Make all haste, therefore, to cast the fire out of your bosom.
- Do nothing as a gentleman: you have no more to do with this character than with that of a dancing master. You are the servant of all, therefore…
- Be ashamed of nothing but sin: not of fetching wood, or drawing water, if time permit; not of cleaning your own shoes or your neighbours.
- Take no money of any one. If they give you food when you are hungry, or clothes when you need them, it is good. But not silver or gold. Let there be no pretence to say, ‘we grow rich by the Gospel.’
- Contract no debt without my knowledge.
- Be punctual: do everything exactly at the time; and in general do not mend our rules, but keep them, not for wrath but for conscience sake.
- Act in all things, not according to your own will, but as a son in the Gospel. As such, it is your part to employ your time in the manner which we direct: partly in visiting the flock from house to house (the sick in particular); partly, in such course of reading, meditation, and prayer, as we advise from time to time. Above all, if you labour with us in our Lord’s vineyard, it is needful you should do that part of the work which we prescribe at those times and places which we judge most for His glory.
You have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work. And go always, not only to those who want you, but to those who want you most.
(Minutes of Conference, 29 June 1744, revised 1745)