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T O P I C    R E V I E W
touchadmin Posted - 02/06/2006 : 09:18:21
I was asked to return to a church in the Northwest part of the USA to train cell leaders and encourage the cell members who comprise a 85 member church. Because if ailing finances, they had to cancel their time with me, unable to even afford a plane ticket.

It's a wonderful little fellowship, filled with people who love God and each other. Because of their pastor's excellent teaching on the leadership potential within every person and that cell leadership is something to work toward, the church has an abundance of future leaders. When I was there last, I asked for a show of hands of how many cell members (not existing leaders or interns/apprentices) wanted to lead a group as soon as they were able and most every hand in the room of 65 people shot up! I was shocked. That had never happened before.

This church's growth issue is complacency. They have maturing believers who have a vision to lead a cell group and will make time for it, but they are not reaching the lost. I encouraged them to simply make friends with, and spent time with lost people before I left, and many said they would work hard at it.

But, the visiting speaker always has a strong, but short-lived impact on a congregation.

So, when I was invited to come back, I was really happy. Maybe I could put some fire in their bones about reaching the lost and dying world around them so they could enjoy cell leadership and see personal transformation within themselves and others.

When the pastor emailed saying they had to cancel, it made me a little sad because I felt God had something for me to say to them that was quite important. So, I prayed about it for almost two months and wrote hte pastor with the following:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

While I cannot be with you in person, know that I often think about you and pray for you! I was greatly impacted by your love for one another and your incredible hospitality when I was with you last year, and I hope to find a way to come back and spend time with you. Until we can be together again, let me urge you to focus your prayer time in your groups to cry out to God for new relationships with the unsaved. They are all around you, just dying to know a God who loves them so much He would sacrifice His son to commune with them forever. If you have no unsaved people that would call you a good friend, confess this as sin quickly and ask God to remove the scales from your eyes to see the fields white with harvest.

When we were together, many of you said you felt a call to become a future leader. That day has come. Lead someone to the cross! Invest your time into a friendship, into mutual servanthood, and sharing often what God is saying to you and doing through you. When you share what God is telling you about His love for you, your lost friends and family will listen because they have probably never heard God’s voice. Witnessing is sharing what God is doing in your life right now, not what the unbeliever should do to get right with God. That is the job of the Holy Spirit.

As you develop relationships with lost persons, show them Christ through your interaction with others from your group! If they do not ask numerous questions about God and your relationship with God, they will probably not be interested in an invitation to your next group meeting, so don’t bother asking. Ask them if they’d like to come over to dinner and meet other good friends of yours. Use the time to simply be a friend to them and introduce them to other members of your group... And watch God work in them.

Reaching the lost is not hard work when done the right way. It is simply sharing your heart and life with others who have yet to discover God through Christ. But it is a choice of the mind that you must make each minute of each day. You must constantly remind yourself that this life on earth is temporal, and you have an important job to do with the very few days you have on this planet. I battle distraction most all day, every single day, so I understand what you are going through. But, I have found that the more I pray in the back of my mind as I sit in traffic, work and eat, the more I understand how God wants me to act and speak to increase the kingdom.

Do not get caught up in what God thinks about your job, your possessions, how you dress, where you live or what you drive. He only cares about these things when they get in the way of you living out your purpose and they become “higher” than Him in your heart and in your daily schedule. He will use you regardless of where you are or what you are doing if you will constantly ask Him how to be salt and light to those around you.

Salt and light are interesting terms for Christians. The world sees us as a people with a list of things we cannot do according to our religion, which makes us boring and legalistic. But you and I know this is not true. Christian community brings a flavor to life that cannot be duplicated in any other form of human interaction because we are not alone. Christ has joined us! Being together with other believers in the midst of Christ also brings light to a dark world, who has no hope.

Can a single grain of salt flavor something properly? Can a single matchstick illuminate a city? No! To be salt and light to the people of your town, you must band together to be powerfully used by God.

When you gather for your regular cell group meetings, encourage each other to introduce you to their neighbors, co-workers and friends who may not know God’s love. Spend time in prayer for yourselves first, asking God to transform you into His likeness so you can be a powerful representative in your world. Then, pray earnestly for those who you know He has placed in your life and confess any fear of sharing as sin.

I am praying for you to break through to the next level of ministry in your cell groups and I hope you are praying for me as well. I am working in another part of the harvest fields, but in a spiritual sense, we are working shoulder to shoulder.

May God’s richest blessings be yours, and may you share those blessings with every unbeliever you can find.

(Should you read this and think, "That's a good word for my cell group members!" feel free to pass it along or read it aloud to them.) After reading what I sent this church (which came back as quoted text in a thank-you from the pastor) I thought I should share it openly with others.

I kinda felt like Paul, writing to a church he'd been to and cared for enough to challenge them in love.

May God richly bless you and your church as you pursue your mission to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission!

Randall Neighbour
Forum Administrator

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