by Mario Vega
In the process of inviting a new guest to the cell, the first step is to make contact. The goal is to develop a relationship with the person and then eventually invite him or her to the cell. Joel Comiskey tells the story of how he would “do things in his yard ” with the goal of getting the chance to make contact with his neighbors. That first contact could be a simple greeting, but, then it could be cultivated into a much closer relationship.
Pastor Cho mentions how his members spend time going up and down in their apartmentsâ€™ tower elevator only to meet â€œby chanceâ€ with a neighbor that could be helped with their shopping bag or children.
We should take full advantage of that first contact when weâ€™re seeking to serve people. We can continue with the process of inviting this person to the cell meeting when this first contact is transformed into a friendly relationship.
El primer contacto.
En el proceso de hacer un invitado se debe procurar un primer contacto para iniciar una relaciÃ³n de amistad con la persona a quien se pretende invitar a la cÃ©lula.
Joel Comiskey me ha contado de cÃ³mo inverta tiempo en â€˜cuidarâ€™ su jardn solamente por tener la oportunidad de tener un primer contacto â€˜de casualidadâ€™ con sus vecinos. Ese primer contacto poda ser un simple saludo; pero, que luego poda cultivarse como una mÃ¡s estrecha relaciÃ³n.
Por su parte, el Pastor Cho menciona cÃ³mo sus miembros invierten tiempo subiendo y bajando en el ascensor en su torre de apartamentos solamente para encontrarse â€˜por casualidadâ€™ con algÃºn vecino al cual ayudar con su bolsa de comprados o con los niÃ±os.
Ese primer contacto se aprovecha al mÃ¡ximo en la bÃºsqueda de servir a las personas. Cuando de ese primer contacto se transforma en una relaciÃ³n de amistad se puede continuar con el proceso de invitaciÃ³n de la persona a la cÃ©lula.
6 thoughts on “The First Contact”
First contact is where it all begins. I spend much time walking through my sub-division and pray as I go. I tell the Lord that I will make contact on anyone I come across. In doing this I have benn able to meet most of the people who live around me. As a matter of fact there is a couple I’ve been making myself friendly toward. They told me their daughters were all coming in to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday with. I asked if I could stop by to meet their family and they said sure. So yesterday I lknocked on their door and was able to talk with all of them. As I was there I told Nick he could come over to play video games with his grandchildren at my home today. So I’m expecting them to come knocking on my door to play. It all began with a walk through the neighborhood and a conversation by the mail box. This friendship is growing weekly. Show yourself to be friendly and God will give you many open doors.
When you say ‘invite him or her to the cell’ do you mean to the cell meeting or to meet the cell people?
Mario – thank you for the simplicity and directness in your thoughts – i read and am inspired to take action – thanks!
my wife and I just had a potluck with our neighbors, and you are right, it can be simple and straightforward….and it came form “doing things in the yard!”
i linked this article to http://www.newchurchreport.com/ to share it with others – thanks!
They are good experiences of Pastor Cho and Joel Comiskey. But, what about Elim? What experiences familiar to working with guests?What are their experience and involvement in a cell? Well, I guess you are going to the front of the cell working in his church.
Lucy, I would encourage you to buy the book I wrote on ELIM called PASSION AND PERSISTENCE for a clear picture of how ELIM functions. Allow me to give you a taste of their friendship strategy from chapter 6:
The cells are the front-line strategy to win people to Jesus Christ. Like other worldwide cell group churches, Elim defines a cell group as a group of 4-15 people that meets weekly outside the church building for the purpose of evangelism and discipleship with the goal of multiplication.
The cell groups evangelize through friendship. The goal is to find a need and meet it. Elim gleaned this strategy from David Choâ€™s church and have persistently followed it for many years.
Cell leaders instruct cell members to make friends with non-Christians. After winning the person through friendship, the unbeliever is invited to attend the cell and hear a clear presentation of the gospel. The ultimate goal is for the person to become a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Other forms of cell evangelism are practiced (e.g., door-to-door visitation, friendship dinner in the cell, evangelistic movies, etc.), but Elim has discovered that the most effective evangelism takes place when cell members express their love in action before inviting the person to the cell. Mario Vega explained Elimâ€™s fourfold evangelistic strategy:
â€¢We make and strengthen friendships with non-believers with the goal of serving them and living out our testimony of love for them.
â€¢We invite non-Christians to attend cell groups.
â€¢We pray for the conversions of those we invite to the cell.
â€¢We emphasize to cell members that the goal is multiplication, and the way weâ€™re going to multiply is through evangelism.
All Elimâ€™s cell groups meet in homes. One of the major purposes of Elimâ€™s cell system is to penetrate non-Christian territory through planting cell groups in every neighborhood. They view each cell as a mini-church that is connected to the larger Elim body.
For seven years, Josefina LÃ³pez followed the Jehovahâ€™s Witness cult. Then in 1998, Elim opened a cell group next to her house. Her neighbor repeatedly invited her to attend, but Josefina refused, remaining true to her cultâ€™s calling.
The cell multiplied into another cell which met down the street. Then it multiplied again. The neighbors of the three cell groups all tried to befriend Josefina, inviting her to their cell groups. She managed to stand firm in her resistance. She noticed, however, the joy, the vibrant singing, and especially the changed lives of her neighbors who attended the three cell groups.
Finally Josefina decided to attend one of the female cells in her neighborhood. (Her initial motivation was to taste the famous cell dessert!) God used the cell leader to clearly present the gospel message and the Holy Spirit did the rest. Josefina repented and committed her life to Jesus Christ.
God transformed Josefina and her struggle with anger vanished. Christ helped her to speak gently to her kids and respect their father. The members of the cell offered to help pay her legal fees so she could officially marry her husband. Soon she was baptized in water. Just fifteen days after her conversion, Josefina opened her home to host a cell group. The cell in her home has multiplied four times. Rather than going out with the new cell groups, she has chosen to remain as a host in her home on all four occasions.
God has continued to work in Josefina in a mighty way. Her husband received Christ, and God helped both of them find a job. (Her husband had not worked for six years.)
Elimâ€™s penetration strategy is a key principle. Elim believes that it must go into the city as a mighty force for Jesus Christ.
Evangelistic Ministry of the Cell Host/Hostess
Elim places a high priority on the ministry of the cell host/hostess. The host doesnâ€™t just open his or her home. The host is actively involved in reaching neighbors and inviting.
Nubia Lopez, for example, started her ministry at Elim as a hostess in 1997. She opened her home for a cell group and began visiting her neighbors to befriend them and ultimately reach them for Jesus. Her goal was to find a need and meet it.
One of her neighbors was very resistant to the Gospel message, so Nubia volunteered to care for her neighborâ€™s children, since this was her neighborâ€™s immediate need. As Nubia cared for these children, her neighbor saw Jesus demonstrated in such a practical way that she decided to attend the cell group and even accompany Nubia to Elim Church.
Nubia eventually became a cell leader and now practices the valuable lessons she learned as a cell hostess. One of the key reasons sheâ€™s been able to multiply her cell seven times is because she knows how to befriend non-Christians and eventually convert them into disciples of Jesus Christ.
When you say â€˜invite him or her to the cellâ€™ do you mean to the cell meeting or to meet the cell people?