The importance of outreach


by Steve Cordle

Yesterday Joel gave us a great reminder of the value of “the empty chair”.

Sustaining an outreach orientation in a group can be one of the most challenging aspects of leading a cell. But evangelism and outreach are essential.

There are those close off small groups to new people in order to focus on discipleship and community. But isn’t it better to disciple people to be witnesses? Can we really close off a group and then expect people later to spontaneously develop redemptive relationships with lost people? If the cell is the basic expression of the church, it must be outward oriented if the church is giong to be outward oriented.

Some ways a leader can help prompt outreach:

– Teach the group that evangelism is a biblical command, and the heart of Jesus. If this is not clear, the members might interpret the leader’s prompts to reach out as merely a numbers game, or buildling their own kingdom. If they realize Jesus yearns for those apart from him, they respond differently.

– Include follow-up questions after the group prays for the empty chair. Ask, “Over the past week did you invite someone to worship? to cell? What happened?”

It is very invigorating to a group to welcome a new member and see someone come to faith and grow. Let’s help our people experience that gift!



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