Back to list of units


Lessons in Evangelism and Discipleship from John Wesley

This unit considers the life and written work of John Wesley. In a blur of motion, he moved from pen to pavement; from parchment to people. He was a prolific writer and a passionate visitor of people. The unit examines the reasons why John Wesley and his early Methodists proved so effective in evangelism and discipleship such that new disciples made new disciples.  

Such an exploration will enable participants to develop the necessary frameworks for better understanding evangelism and discipleship; then and now. The unit will also help students to consider their own approaches to evangelism and discipleship in their ministry context in Australia. 

Lecturer: Dr Michael Duncan 
Offered: Refer to Timetable

Undergraduate: Level 3
Level 9 Elective

Discipline: Theology: Mission and Ministry


1 unit
in Field B, 1 unit in Field C & 1 unit in Field D
1 unit in Field B, 1 unit in Field C & 1 unit in Field D 

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Use primary sources as tools for shaping contemporary mission practice.  
  2. Critically evaluate Wesleyan models of evangelism and discipleship. 
  3. Analyse ways in which scholars have applied Wesley’s belief and practice to contemporary contexts. 
  4. Evaluate contemporary challenges in evangelism and discipleship and reframe their own practice in light of Wesley’s contribution. 
  5. (Postgraduate) Demonstrate competence in researching the opportunities and issues for mission in one particular contemporary context. 


Biographical Essay
(1500 words) 33%
Critical Topical Essay (2000 words) 33%
Application Essay (1500 words)  33%

Biographical Essay (2500 words) 33%
Critical Topical Essay (2500 words) 33%
Application Essay (2000 words)  33%

Select Bibliography:

*Recommended reading

Baker, Frank, ed. The Bicentennial Edition of the Works of John Wesley. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, [1984]. 


*Abraham, William J. Wesley for Armchair Theologians. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005.  

Abraham, William J., and James Kirby, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Methodist Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.  

Bebbington, D.W. Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s. London: Routledge, 1993.  

Chilcote, Paul W. ed. The Wesleyan Tradition: A Paradigm for Renewal. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002.  

Chilcote, Paul W., and Laceye C. Warner, eds. The Study of Evangelism: Exploring a Missional Practice of Church. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2008.  

Clapper, Gregory S. As If the Heart Mattered: A Wesleyan Spirituality. Nashville: Upper Room Books, 1997.  

_____. John Wesley on Religious Affections: His Views on Experience and Emotion and their Role in the Christian Life and Theology. Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1989.  

**______. The Renewal of the Heart is the Mission of the Church: Wesley’s Heart Religion in the Twenty-First Century. Eugene: Cascade Books, 2010.  

Collins, Kenneth J. A Real Christian: The Life of John Wesley. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1999. 

______. The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007.  

Collins, Kenneth J., and John H. Tyson, eds. Conversion in the Wesleyan Tradition. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001.  

Heitzenrater, Richard P. The Elusive Mr. Wesley. 2nd ed. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2003.  

______. ed. The Poor and the People Called Methodists. Nashville: Kingswood Books, 2002.  

______. Wesley and the People Called Methodists. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995. 

Hildebrandt, Franz. Christianity According to The Wesleys. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996. 

Knight III, Henry H. Eight Life-Enriching Practices of United Methodists. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001.  

______. The Presence of God in the Christian Life: John Wesley and the Means of Grace. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 1992.  

Long, D. Stephen. John Wesley’s Moral Theology: The Quest for God and Goodness. Nashville: Kingswood Books, 2005.  

Maddox, Randy L., ed. Aldersgate Reconsidered. Nashville: Kingswood Books, 1990.  

______. Responsible Grace: John Wesley’s Practical Theology. Nashville: Kingswood Books, 1994. 

**_______. “Psychology and Wesleyan Theology: Precedents and Prospects for a Renewed Engagement.” Journal of Psychology and Christianity. No. 23, (2004): 101–9. 

**_______. “Practical Theology: A Discipline in Search of a Definition.” Perspectives in Religious Studies. No. 18, (1991): 159-69. 

Maddox, Randy L., and Jason Vickers, eds. The Cambridge Companion to John Wesley.   Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.  

Matthaei, Sondra H. Making Disciples: Faith Formation in the Wesleyan Tradition. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000.  

**Outler, Albert C., ed. Evangelism and Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit. Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 1996.  

Rack, Henry D. Reasonable Enthusiast: John Wesley and the Rise of Methodism. 2nd ed. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993. 

Semmel, Bernard. The Methodist Revolution. London: Heinemann, 1974.  

Steele, Richard B. “Gracious Affection” and “True Virtue” According to Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley. Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1994.  

______. ed. “Heart Religion” in the Methodist Tradition and Related Movements. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2001.  

Vickers, Jason E. Wesley: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: T & T Clark, 2009 

Watson, David L. Accountable Discipleship: Handbook for Covenant Discipleship Groups in the Congregation. Rev. ed. Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 1985.  

______. Covenant Discipleship: Christian Formation through Mutual Accountability. Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2002.  

______. The Early Methodist Class Meeting: Its Origins and Significance. Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2002. 

Watson, Kevin M. A Blueprint for Discipleship: Wesley’s General Rules as a Guide for Christian Living. Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2009.