In Methodism, inclusive of the holiness movement, a penitent band is a group of Christians that meets on Saturday night to keep themselves away from temptation and confess their sins. Saturday was the day that the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, had penitent bands meet because that was the day "the night of greatest temptation for many" as bars experienced much traffic. Penitent band meetings "were very formal, and the hymns, prayers, and teachings were designed to apply to the types of problems the members were experiencing." Members of penitent bands often included those who continually backslid from the expectations of their class meetings. As such, four questions are asked during services of the Methodist penitent bands:
What known sins have you committed since the last meeting?
What temptations have you met with? How were you delivered?
What have you thought, said, or done which may or may not be sin?
- Thomas, Louisa (August 2018). "The Relevance of the 18th Century Wesleyan Class Meeting in the 21st Century Church". The Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist. Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection. 80 (8): 8–9.
- Comiskey, Joel. Wesley’s Small Group Organization. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. p. 5.
- Malony, H. Newton (4 February 2012). The Amazing John Wesley: An Unusual Look at an Uncommon Life. InterVarsity Press. p. 57. ISBN 9780830858521.
- Burnett, Daniel L. (15 March 2006). In the Shadow of Aldersgate: An Introduction to the Heritage and Faith of the Wesleyan Tradition. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 57. ISBN 9781621899808.
- Moon, Gary W.; Benner, David G. (20 September 2009). Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls: A Guide to Christian Approaches and Practices. InterVarsity Press. p. 122. ISBN 9780830876969.