John Wesley was one of 19 children born to Samuel and Susanna Wesley. His father was an Anglican clergyman and his mother was devoted both to God and to her children. John attended Christ Church College at Oxford, was ordained an Anglican minister, and was made a Fellow of Lincoln College. While he was at Oxford, he and a group of friends banded together to encourage one another to live a holy life. Their methodical approach to holiness led other a the college to refer to them as "Methodists."
Although Wesley grew up a deeply religious man, something was lacking in his heart. On May 24, 1738, he attended a prayer meeting at which the leader read Luther's preface to the book of Galatians. It was then, Wesley embarked on an unusual preaching ministry, especially to the common folk of the English countryside.
Historians have said that by evangelizing the common people of eighteenth-century England, Wesley saved the country from a bloody revolution. His impact upon England was dramatic during his lifetime, and even more dramatic on America after his death as many Methodist preachers crisscrossed the frontier with his message.