by Rob Campbell
Recently, a man approached me right before a Sunday A.M. Celebration service at my church. He asked if I could spend some time with him and counsel him. I told him I would love to get to know him, but I wasn’t real good at long term counseling. I enjoy change and I lose passion for long term counseling pretty quick. As the days unfolded, we met.
The man was pretty low and told his story to me through many tears. His wife of a few decades was filing for divorce. He was out of work and fearful of losing a child as well. I expressed my sorrow. I was impressed with his ability to walk through his darkness with integrity, grace, and the love of God. That would certainly not be easy given his lot. Further, he accepted a good portion of responsibility for his life condition.
I encouraged him to be a part of a cell group. He responded, “No thanks.” I replied, “What do you mean? I think you’ll find some good support through a set of relationships.” He stated, “Don’t need no cell group. I’ve got one already. They have sustained me through this pain and agony.”
I asked him,”How have they sustained you?”
He said, “They have listened to me and have loved me.”
To my knowledge, in this particular cell group– there are no professional counselors or trained clergy. There are, however, people present who have walked through pain, hurt, disappointment, and loss…AND they are intent on helping the downtrodden.
I ended my time with this gentelmen answering a few specific questions he had about his ordeal. I left our time together with a sorrowful disposition, but a light spirit. Indeed, I felt deep sorrow for him. Yet, my spirit was light because he was engaged in a cell who had listening ears and hearts of love.
2 Corinthians 1:4 reads, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
Cell ministry is team ministry in which the pastor is not propped up as the almighty counselor, “go to guy,” and Bible answer man. Cell ministry empowers people to be the hands and feet of Christ. One is not alone to traverse the valleys of life.
This week, may your cell and the cells of your church be the listening ears and the hearts of love for the hurting.