Exhorters played an important part in early Methodism by encouraging their hearers in word and by prayer. Preachers began as exhorters, speaking in a class meeting and then to the society, usually warning against sin and urging repentance. Some exhorters began to read a Bible passage and comment on it. The crucial transition from exhorting to preaching came when an exhorter, whether male or female, 'took a text' and expounded it. Although in WM women were not officially allowed to preach, exhorting was permitted, as it tool place mainly within the family or in the classes. By 1770 exhorters were recognized as an important element in Methodism. Mary Bosanquet (Mrs. Fletcher), probably the best known example of a WM exhorter, went on to preach, but refused to go into the pulpit, always speaking from the steps.