Cells Celebrating Together

joelIn my last blog, I shared that many cell churches bring the cells together weekly, while others choose to do so monthly, or every other week. Celebration in a cell church, like other evangelical churches, should highlight worship and the preaching/teaching of God’s Word.

The distinction of celebration in the cell church is that it’s truly a time for the cells to come together. Many cell churches, for example, emphasize this fact by:

• asking a cell member who has been transformed through relational ministry—new friendships, special ministry times—to share what God has done
• hearing the testimony of someone who has received healing within the cell group
• presenting a new multiplication leader to the entire church

Those attending the Sunday celebration need to realize that the primary pastoral services of the church are offered through the cell system. If they need ministry and help, they can find it in a loving cell group.

I’ve always encouraged pastors to personally lead a cell group. Why? One of the reasons is because personal involvement allows the pastor to freely add cell examples to sermons. When a pastor who is personally involved in a cell talks about the need for community, body-life evangelism, leadership development, and the use of the gifts of the Spirit, that pastor can tie in personal involvement in cell life, drawing on a variety of illustrations and testimonies from real life. Soon the congregation begins to realize that cell life is the normal Christian life and that attending the celebration service is only one part of that reality. They soon realize that they must also be involved in cell to capture the full benefits of what the church really is.

If you’re planting a cell church, just keep it simple.

If you’re transitioning to the cell church, there are some thing you can do that will help your transtion. Take the bulletin. Cell ministry can find a great friend in the bulletin or other advertisements in the church. I suggest that the bulletin in the cell church highlight a cell testimony of how people’s lives have been transformed through cell ministry. Cell announcements should be given priority space so that those visiting will immediately see the heartbeat of the church and know where to go to get involved in a cell group.

One church I coached had thirty cells and two hundred worshippers. The bulletin in this church was a two-sided sheet of paper, listing all the cell groups each week on the front page. The statement made each Sunday was this: “We’re pastoring our people through cell ministry.”

A visitor to the celebration service should be able to detect the philosophy and priority of the church from the Sunday morning service. Some churches have book tables; larger ones even have bookstores. I encourage cell-based churches to have a cell information table where they lay out relevant books on cell ministry, the weekly cell lesson, a box to place cell reports, and other pertinent information about cell ministry.

It’s a great idea to post in the foyer a map of the city with each cell group pinned on it. This map explains where the cells are located, their focus (e.g., family cells, women’s cells, youth cells, etc.), and when they meet. A volunteer worker or secretary should be available to answer questions each week and connect new people to cell ministry.

It’s not easy to adapt to the cell model. People are accustomed to their old ways and habits. They must be reminded of the cell church focus by what they see in church during the worship service.

What have you done to connect cell and celebration?

Joel

2 thoughts on “Cells Celebrating Together

  • We do many things to connect cell and celebration on a weekly basis. When you walk in to our entrance there are tables on both sides with cell group name tags and business cards for each group listing the day and location of where they meet. Those who are part of a cell group find the tag reflecting the group they are part of and wear it during our celebation service. The tag for my group reads “I’m with the Sove cell.” During the meet and greet time cell members know to look for people without tags and to give a friendly invite to their cell that week.

    As you go further in toward the auditorium there is a booth on the right we call the “Neighborhood Life” booth. Behind the booth is a painted mural looking out into a neighborhood. On this booth there is a listing of all our cells and contact info. An article explaining cell church and cell life. This is also the booth where people can pick up the edification sheet for the cell gatherings the next week. We write edification sheets with the 5 w’s (welcome, worship, witness, word and works) that follow that weeks message.

    As the person enters the auditorium they are handed a program cover which describes our vision and mission as a cell church. During the services we often have testimonies from cell members about life change. Whenever there is a cell birth we bring the group up and pray over the new leaders and celebrate this new cell start.

    At the end of services as I close I invite people to connect with our cells and tell them to find someone with a tag on or to come to the booth for more information about our cells. We also have the list of cell in the welcome center and everyone who comes to meet the Sr. Pastor recieves a list and is invited as well.

    Beyond this I put an article, story, or testimony from one of our groups in our weekly newsletter called Bits and Bytes. My page is called Cellular Sound Bytes. So we do all we can to help people understand that our church functions with two equal wings, celebration and cells.

    If you are interested I can send you photos of our tags and booth as well as copies of the documents we use as well as examples of our edification sheets and testimonies from our newsletter. You can reach me at msove@allenmemorial.org if you are interested and would like to learn more.

  • I affirm everything that Mike says above. His church is an excellent example of connecting cell and celebration (I was in his church about 2 months ago). And Mike is super open to share ideas, so please contact him!

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