Apparently, Martin Bucer & friends may well have been some of those continental reformed which McNeill refers to as having developed these exercise/fellowships.
...a year later , small groups had arisen in the parishes of St. Thomas and Young St. Peter, consisting of church members who discussed their faith with one another and taught, admonished, and comforted one another. They also submitted to a voluntary church discipline and spoke of themselves as a christliche Gemeinschaft, a Christian fellowship.And Bucer's motive for creating these groups:
It was not enough for the civil authorities to enforce morality on the entire population under threat of punishment. Convinced Christians had to begin setting up their own autonomous congregational structures as well, including a system of voluntary church discipline. The fact that this had not happened yet constituted in Bucer's opinion 'the worst flaw and defect ' of the Strasbourg church. Because of this, pastoral care - which in Bucer's opinion also represented an effort to educate the entire people - was prevented from 'bringing all the baptized, young as well as old, to true communion with, and obedience to Jesus Christ.'- p.213 Martin Bucer: A Reformer and His Times by Martin Greschat.
This had to do with the previous post, but I have since lost the train of thought, so I post it just for posterity.