Worldwide Cell Churches
CCS May 2006 Newsletter
Even though your church isn’t among the largest churches in the world, the good news is that you’re still part of the largest Church in the world--the Church of Jesus Christ. Granted, it can be humbling to see the amazing growth overseas--where the largest churches are located--while not experiencing that same growth closer to home. In the CCS May and June issue I want to stimulate your expectancy level by highlighting key principles from five of the largest churches in the world.
In this issue I’ll cover prayer and penetration. In the June newsletter we’ll look at spiritual freedom, everyone a minister, and church planting.
Adopt the principles of these churches and you will see great things happen in your own life and the life of your church. Jump in the fray and allow the Holy Spirit to empower and direct you.
Known for fervent prayer
In 1964, six years after starting the church, David Cho collapsed of exhaustion. On his sickbed, God showed him that he was acting like Moses, trying to do everything himself. God stirred him to raise up a movement of lay leaders to help share the load. 25,000 cell groups later, the laity has propelled this church to become the largest in the history of Christianity
On Sunday, April 06, 1997, I tried to physically count how many were attending the church. I had heard so many varying reports of church membership (ranging from 500,000 to 800,000), I decided I wanted to know how many actually attended. I started at 5:30 a.m. and completed my count at 8:30 p.m. (I wouldn’t recommend doing this!). I counted 253,000 people attending that Sunday in April (eight years later, I witnessed the same crowded worship services).
Yet it wasn’t until the next day, April 07, 1997, that I understood the power behind this great church. I walked into the main sanctuary at 5:30 a.m. and saw 3,000 prayer warriors interceding before God. “Give us Korea for Your Son Jesus,” they cried.
Prayer has made this church great. Prayer empowers the 25,000 cell groups to reach out. Prayer gives passion to the people.
I believe in God’s sovereignty. Yet somehow in God’s great wisdom, He’s chosen to bless those who utterly depend on Him through prayer. The question I ask churches around the world is: Have you made prayer the main thing? Yoido Full Gospel Church has. The fruit is obvious.
Known for penetrating the city through multiplying cell groups
Elim, for example, can show you every Tuesday morning exactly what happened the previous week in cell attendance, conversions, baptisms, people visited, and those trained.
Elim’s main goal is to penetrate the city through multiplying cell groups. These cells win neighbors and prepare new leaders to reap the harvest.
Jose fina López, for example, was a Jehovah’s Witness, that just happened to live next door to an Elim cell. Her neighbors befriended her and lovingly invited her to their group, but Josefina refused, remaining true to her cult’s calling. The cell multiplied and formed another one down the street. Then it multiplied again—this time behind her house. The neighbors of all three cells tried to love and serve Josefina, inviting her to their groups, but she managed to resist them. She noticed, however, the joy, the vibrant singing, and especially their changed lives.
Finally Josefina decided to attend the cell behind her house, using the excuse of wanting to taste the dessert. God used the leader to clearly present the gospel message and the Holy Spirit did the rest. God transformed Josefina, and she was baptized. The members of the cell offered to help pay her legal fees, so she could officially marry her husband. Just fifteen days after her conversion, Josefina opened her home to host a new cell, which has now multiplied four times.
Elim’s powerful example has stimulated many churches to start multiplying cell groups outside the church building. We can’t just expect people to come to church in the building. We must take the church to them. God has used Elim to develop a church without walls that penetrates into every corner of the community and raises up harvest workers to continue the process. The principle of evangelistic penetration through multiplying groups offers exciting possibilities to fulfill Christ’s great commission.