Evangelism and Multiplication

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Redemption and Lift

by Joel Comiskey

Spring 2009

Donald McGravran, the founder of Church Growth, coined the phrase “redemption and lift” to signify a negative phenomenon that happens when a poor, humble culture is lifted up by the redeeming work of Christ, but then loses touch with those around them. McGavran gave an example of those who might be the most effective evangelists among their former peers, but simply leave their vicinity and loose touch due to economic wealth, etc.

I gave a cell seminar in Omaha, Nebraska in May 2009. Those who attended were lowly hispanic pastors and leaders who work in meat-packing plants and other servial jobs in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and South Dakota. Even the fulltime senior pastors at the seminar needed to work fulltime jobs to feed their families. Although I felt for their economic condition, I also knew that their hardships would “help” make them more dependent on Jesus, more zealous for spiritual things, and more ready to serve. And I could sense their passion for God’s work during the seminar. I’ve seen the same hunger among the poor and needy in the Elim Church in San Salvador and in many other places in the world.

The greatest danger and hindrance to effective cell ministry is apathy. It’s the apathetic attitude that comes when a culture is lifted up with wealth and security, and simply says, “I don’t have time to join a cell, enter the training track, lead a group, or for that matter, be involved in any outside activity. In fact, I probably won’t have time to come to church each Sunday, so I’d prefer to say that I’m part of _____ church because noone will notice when I’m not present.”

God is looking for humble hearts . He simply can’t use those who don’t need Him, depend Him, or ask Him for help. We who live in the WEST with all of its luxury have to continually ask God to allow us to live in a state of hunger, thirst and personal crisis (in a positive sense), so that we will always know our need for God.

I love the cell church strategy, but it only works well when people offer themselves to God’s service and want to make an impact in their societies.

Let us pray fervently that when God lifts us up with all the benefits of the gospel that we will stay humble, zealous, and desirious of His love and power more than anything else.

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Joel Comiskey