I’m writing here from the Kansas City, MO airport, and I’m tired–but happy. I’ve had a whirlwind speaking ministry here. It started at a Southern Baptist church on Friday night. Kevin Wood is the pastor. I first met Kevin in Prague when I did a cell seminar among the southern Baptist missionaries. Then we were together again in Greece and later in Slovakia (where Kevin was a SB missionary). And now we met again in the “new world” of Kansas City. Kevin, who believes strongly in cell ministry, asked me to speak on transitioning the church to the cell strategy.
On Saturday I spoke to sixty Southern Baptist church planters. They wanted me to speak on simple cell church planting–going from the core to the crowd. So many church planters begin with a Sunday worship service. I challenged them to begin with a cell (the church) and multiply from the core to the crowd. Many church planters will eventually have weekly celebration services while others will choose to gather the cells together less frequently.
Then on Sunday morning I was back at Kevin’s church and spoke to 250 people in attendance about penetrating their cities through multiplying cell groups. So many won’t darken the door of a church building. They need a church “next door” that will reach out to them and invite them to the group. As I walked around the neighborhood before preaching, I noticed a young “hippie” looking dad taking his young daughter out for a motorcycle ride. He lived near the church, but I doubted he’d just “show up” at one of the celebration services. Who would befriend him? Who would reach him? I thought. I preached that morning from Matthew 9:35-10:1:
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. ï»¿When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. ï»¿Then he said to his disciples, â€œThe harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. ï»¿Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.â€ He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness” (Matthew 9:35-10:1).
Jesus is still broken as He sees lost people–like the hippie dad. And He’s still asking us to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest field. Cells are a great way to send forth laborers who lead “the church next door” and have compassion on the hurting–just like Jesus.