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Starting Member

9 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2003 :  00:39:53  Show Profile
Hi Scott,
Thanks for taking this question. A few of the new cell groups that have been formed in our church are struggling with the idea of inviting new people to the group when they have only been meeting for a month. Is there a time period (like 2 months) that new cell groups should focus on getting to know each other before they invite new people in, or should they already be doing so. Thanks.
In Him,

Scott Boren

2 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2003 :  07:29:36  Show Profile
Great question. You are dealing with a question that has many levels. First, if the cell groups are comprised of people who are novices with regard to small groups and community, they will have lots of questions on a personal level: Can I trust these people? If we invite others, can I trust them? Do I really want to be a part of this cell group thing? When the instruction of inviting new people is added to these internal questions, the response is often one of reticence.
On another level, if these cell group members have a lot of church experience, it is important to understand their paradigm of evangelism. Depending upon the church tradition, these people might see evangelism and reaching out to the unchurched as such a burden that the thought of it overwhelms them. They donít understand that evangelism is best done through friends who love unchurched friends. They only see it as a task to be done.
Another level is that of knowing whether or not your people need a little pressure to do evangelism. In some churches, the people have been so mired in their little enclave of Christianity that they donít have the slightest idea about how to reach out. These people need to be nudged out of the nest. In other churches, the people love their unchurched friends, they only need to experience dynamic Christian community which would inspire and empower them to minister to them.
These three levels require you to understand if what they are expressing is really a diversion from the real issue. If you help them work through trust issues and their concept of reaching out, then you take away their motivation to not invite people.
Then there is the level of WYSIWYG ďWhat you see is what you get.Ē There is the legitimate need for groups to connect with one another and learn how to live in community. Would I suggest putting a two month limit on inviting people? I would steer clear of such things because they can easily develop into laws. I would encourage the groups to begin praying for their unchurched friends and instruct them to listen to the Lord for direction. This will give the group some time to form, while at the same time encourage them to focus outside of themselves. The key is not in the method, but on helping the groups to pray for their unchurched friends and allowing the Lord to direct them. In addition, most people donít come after the first invitation. Assuming that someone is open to attending a group, it usually takes multiple invites over a period of weeks or even months before they will come.
On a practical level, there are two points where adding people seems to be the most natural. The first point is when the group starts. The group has not yet formed and new people can be assimilated very easily. The second point comes after a group has gone through conflict. On the other side of conflict, the group will have normed and will experience community. This experience will be very attractive to unchurched friends. This does not mean that these are the only two points that a group will grow, only that these are the most natural points for group growth.
The good thing about asking your question on this forum, it gives others the opportunity to respond. I hope that some other perspectives will be added.

Scott Boren
Director of R&D
TOUCH, The Cell Group People
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