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T O P I C    R E V I E W
wesley Posted - 11/30/2004 : 19:16:55
Hi. We at Joint-Heirs Christian Center @Jacksonville, Fl have been utilizing cell groups for over 6 years now. Right now we are sort of stagnant. Some members don't feel comfortable with members in their homes. What suggestions, tips would anyone recommend to help members follow the vision, feel comfortable, get out of themselves and reach out to others.

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Rev Kev Posted - 12/01/2004 : 17:14:16
As I read your email I was reminded of the principle found in Gordon MacDonald's Ordering Your Private World that a disordered visible situation is an indicator of a disordered inner man problem. In a nutshell, I've found it common that when people don't want others inside their home, or don't feel comfortable with others in their home, it's indicative of deeper issues within the individual that need repentance, deliverance, healing, etc. If someone doesn't want to open their home (visible), they don't want to open their hearts (invisible) because their is an issue of sin, woundedness, rejection, etc that needs to be dealt with. They feel more comfortable keeping people at more than an arm's length...any closer and you'll discover some things that might cause you to reject them. The logical assumption that I would make is that there isn't some type of "Encounter Weekend" or "Cleansing Stream" experience in place at your church that is required prior to extending the priviledge of leading a cell to members. These type of encounters/experiences are a must simply because successful cell leaders express their leadership by being Spirit-led rather than out of their woundedness. These type of healing, deliverance, cleansing encounters are a must for healthy cell groups and cell ministry, in general.

Rev Kev

I need ALL of Christ;
The body and the Head
touchadmin Posted - 12/01/2004 : 11:22:50
I think your best shot is to tackle the problem with multiple efforts:

1a. Sounds like your coaches, if you have them (and you should!) are not doing their job to the fullest... are the coaches visiting group meetings and encouraging the groups to be "open" to others? I'd get them to start doing this a.s.a.p.

1b. One of the most important roles of the coach in any cell system is to befriend and those that will be next year's leaders, not just the existing leaders and interns or apprentices. Future leaders would be today's members, who should be opening up their homes by this point in the "covert" leader development process I encouraged in my workshop at this year's forum. Here's a link to the streaming MP3 of it:

2. Your senior pastor (if that's not you!) needs to preach a sermon series on reaching out to others as a part of the mission of your church and follow it up with frank discussion guides for the groups to use that week in cell meetings to expose attitudes that are not healthy. The people should really be challenged to confess it as sin and repent by doing something different in the days to follow and be held accountable to go in a different direction with their spiritual lives.

3. I'm guessing that you don't have a solid member equipping process in place that shapes the heart, mind and value system of the cell members. If you do, then you probably need to examine it to find the holes that would prevent members from coming to an understanding that the Christian walk is all about reaching out to others.

There's probably much more advice I might offer you, but without knowing all the particulars of your church, its history, leadership and journey into cell groups, it's hard to offer more.

-Randall Neighbour, TOUCH Outreach Ministries, Inc.

PS - For what it's worth, you may want to buy a copy of a booklet I just wrote called Community Life 101. Its a cell member book that describes what healthy cell life looks like when the members are loving each other and the lost between the meetings. You can check it out and read the first chapter by clicking here:

Hey, if anyone else wants to jump in and give John some advice, feel free to do so! You certainly won't hurt my feelings.

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