How To Get Started
The biological cell is a basic building block of life. Healthy cells multiply themselves millions of times in the course of a lifetime. Each new cell looks identical to the original cell because the DNA branded nucleus multiplies itself before the cell reproduces. In this way, the new cell is as healthy and productive as the original cell in its given role. The cells work together as organs, muscles, bone and skin to make the body function as a true miracle from God.
A spiritual cell group is very similar to a biological cell. Followers of Jesus Christ edify one another and increase the kingdom by sharing their lives with unbelievers. New leaders are raised up from within the group (with the support and training by their pastoral staff) to grow and expand the ministry to a hurting world. When the group multiplies, the process repeats itself.
"Oh, this is just like . . ."
Cell groups aren't simply another name for a Bible study, fellowship group or Sunday School class. They are a group of believers who have banded together for a season in life to reach the lost, minister to the hurting and each other, and discover their leadership potential. Sure, cell groups study the Word, but they do so in order to live out what they read and use it effectively to penetrate a dark world with the light of Jesus Christ . . . which is quite different from studying a passage each week for general knowledge. Cell groups also have lots of fun together . . . but this fellowship is specialized in that it usually exposes unbelievers to a group of fun, Jesus-loving people. In other words, cell groups even use fellowship as an evangelistic tool! And last, it wouldn't be right to call a Sunday morning classroom experience a cell group. A cell group should meet in a place and time that is comfortable for both the believers and unbelievers visiting, and provide enough time to share deep concerns and pray for one another. Rarely can either of these things be done within one hour at a church building, early on a Sunday morning.
Some pastors think that cell groups will march to the beat of their own drum, operating independently and dividing the church. Not so! Cell groups help to live out what their pastor preaches on Sunday. Cell leaders are faithful under-shepherds for the senior pastor and the Lord, serving in a unique capacity to serve and love. Cells are not house churches or autonomous. Cell groups extend ministry and evangelism to every person in a local church body.
"Where do cell members gather?"
Cell members meet weekly in homes, factory break rooms or the back area of a local restaurant. The meeting place is not as important as convenience, time and space issues. Group members find the best place to minister to one another and make evangelistic plans to touch the lost. This is where cell members and unbelievers experience "the Christ within and in the midst" with other believers, or an immanent expression of Christ.
Cell Groups also come together with other cells as a local church body at celebration services, usually held once a week. There is corporate worship, solid teaching from God's Word, and a time for pastoral ministry. This is where cell members and unbelievers experience the transcendent expression of Christ.
Both gatherings are vital for success! The cell group meets to experience Christ's love through others in a warm setting. The celebration service (the gathering of cells) is to experience God in high worship and to receive teaching from His Word. One without the other would not fulfill all God has for His people.
[Intrigued by the immanent/transcendent thinking shared here? Learn more in The Second Reformation by Bill Beckham]
"Just two meetings a week?"
While believers meet together each week to share their lives and pray as a cell group, the productive work of the group members is done in the days and hours between meetings. The meeting itself is seen as a discovery time for a week of ministry to each other and the lost.
God desires for us to live in community and commanded us to work out our salvation together (Phil. 2:12). We were never instructed to live the Christian life outside of a caring community. Iron sharpens iron, which means a cell group is an ideal place to grow. A believer might be challenged from a message heard on Sunday, but he will certainly need other believers with whom he can interact and build trust to live it out fully and then give it away to others.
The power to reach this lost world is ours!
As born again believers in Jesus Christ, we have been commanded to fulfill the Great Commission found in Matt. 28:18-20. This can easily be accomplished if churches around the world will launch cell groups to harness the power of basic Christian community to reach friends, family, coworkers and neighbors for Jesus. You see, cell groups employ "net fishing" and successfully reach the lost through relational evangelism. Fewer converts fall away with this approach, because new believers are adopted into a spiritual family and a new church home. It's also easier to reach people for Jesus as a team... not to mention it's so much fun.
We are living in the last days. God has called us to storm the gates of Hell, set the captives free and fulfill the Great Commission. It can easily be accomplished through cell groups in your church. Cell Groups are built for storming!
"Ok, I'm interested. How do I learn more?"
Our ministry is here to serve you in your quest for more information, training, on-site consulting or telephone support. Here's just a few of the ways we would love to help you:
The resource catalog area of our site is filled with books we've published or gathered from other publishers. If you're interested in cell groups, it would be wise to peruse the Getting Started area and select a few books to read. For established churches transitioning to a cell ministry, we highly suggest Making Cell Groups Work and an audio tape set by Dr. Ralph Neighbour entitled New Wineskins for Future Churches.
The conferences and training we offer is very helpful in understanding how a cell group ministry can grow your church and set you free to be a better senior pastor. If you just want more information, be sure to attend one of the Making Cell Groups Work seminars held in Houston and selected locations around the U.S.A.
Fresh Insights, Cell Church Magazine and Cell Group Journal are wonderful publications that will help you understand the practical aspects of cell life and leadership. Visit this area with a cup of coffee and invest some time reading the hundreds of articles in the archives.They're incredibly helpful, and they're free!
Would you rather visit with a TOUCH staff member on the phone? We're always glad to do this. Just call us at 713-884-8893 between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm CST, Monday through Friday. We stand ready to help you learn and experience the greatest way to release your church members for a life-long, dynamic ministry to others.
We're always available via email as well. Feel free to send general or specific questions to us by clicking on the link below (we use a pop-up window for email communication through our web site, so temporarily disable your pop-up blocker software to make this work on your computer).You'll receive a detailed response quickly from a staff member or Randall Neighbour, the ministry's president. We're here to serve you, so feel free to contact us.
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